Donald Buckeye Speaker Series: "A Tribute to Euler"

Dr. William Dunham, Research Associate in Mathematics, Bryn Mawr College

Monday, March 29, 2021, 7 p.m.

Register for this online event.

Abstract:  Among history's foremost mathematicians is Leonhard Euler (1707-1783).  In this presentation, we sketch Euler's life, discuss his voluminous mathematical output, and survey a few of his discoveries from number theory, graph theory, and other branches of mathematics.  We conclude with a proof -- in full detail -- of one of his greatest theorems:  the solution of the "Basel Problem" from 1734.  There, Euler found the exact value of the infinite series 1 + 1/4 + 1/9 + 1/16 + 1/25 + . . . in a brilliant display of analytic wizardry.  Tradition has it that Laplace described Euler as "the Master of Us All."  This talk should show why such a characterization is apt.

Speaker Bio:  William Dunham is a historian of mathematics who has written four books on the subject:  Journey Through Genius, The Mathematical Universe, Euler: The Master of Us All, and The Calculus Gallery.  He is featured in the Teaching Company's DVD course, "Great Thinkers, Great Theorems," and most recently was a co-author of an anthology from Cambridge University Press titled The G.H. Hardy Reader.  Since Dunham retired from Muhlenberg College (emeritus, 2014), he has held visiting positions at Harvard, Princeton, Penn, Cornell, and at Bryn Mawr College, where he is now a Research Associate in Mathematics.

Questions:  Contact Dr. Amy Shell Gellasch.


The mission of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is to instill an appreciation of the intrinsic beauty, the diverse origins, and the practical aspects of mathematics and statistics.

To this end, the department:

  • provides students well-balanced academic programs at the baccalaureate and master's degree levels;
  • functions as a scholarly unit promoting faculty and student research; and
  • serves as a resource for mathematical expertise to the university and to the larger community.

More specifically, the department dedicates itself to:

  • providing the highest quality educational experience possible to undergraduate and graduate students within the majors and minors in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and to students enrolled in General Education Program courses and service courses for other programs;
  • fostering involvement in research by both students and faculty; and
  • providing meaningful service to the EMU academic community, to the disciplines of our faculty, to the broader mathematical and statistical community, and to the local and regional communities.

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