Leonhard Euler’s Impact on Math to be Topic of Special Nov. 27 Seminar

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
William Dunham

Mathematics historian William Dunham will discuss how Leonhard Euler’s summation of infinite series, such as the multiple solutions of the Basel Problem, is still relevant in today’s mathematics.

Leonhard Euler’s cutting-edge mathematical explorations, central to 18th century mathematics, will be the topic of a special seminar Nov. 27 at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology by mathematics historian, author and researcher William Dunham.

The free public event in the GM Room (B111) of Moench Hall starts at 4:20 p.m. It has been organized by the Department of Mathematics and co-sponsored by the Office of Cross-Cutting Programs and Emerging Opportunities.

Euler’s masterful mathematical insight involved the summation of infinite series, including the Basel Problem, which was eventually generalized to the Riemann Hypothesis, now a million-dollar Millennium Prize Problem.

Dunham’s talk on “A Tale of Two Series,” will examine one of Euler's multiple solutions of the Basel Problem, as well as another infinite series solution which likewise showcases Euler's virtuoso command of the techniques of his time, according to Rose-Hulman mathematics professor Joshua Holden.

William Green, associate professor of mathematics, adds that anyone familiar with calculus can easily follow Dunham’s arguments.

A research associate in mathematics at Bryn Mawr College (Pennsylvania) and emeriti professor at Muhlenberg College (Pennsylvania), Dunham has written the book “Euler: The Master of Us All” and is featured in the Teaching Company’s DVD course “Great Thinkers, Great Theorems.” He most recently was a co-editor of an anthology The G. H. Hardy Reader from Cambridge University Press and also authored the following books on mathematics history: “Journey Through Genius,” “The Mathematical Universe” and “The Calculus Gallery.”