According to Ronald S. Calinger, a Professor of History at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC who specializes in the history of mathematics, and Leonhard Euler in particular, Euler can be considered “the presiding mathematical genius of the Enlightenment.”
Dr. Calinger was a Dibner Library Resident Scholar in 2007, during which he made substantial use of the Dibner's rare materials by Euler and his contemporaries while working on a full scale scientific and biographical study of Euler, the first such work in English.
At the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Annual Meeting in February 2009, Calinger organized a symposium focusing on Euler and his achievements, From Enlightenment Lunar Theories to the Discovery of Extra Solar Planets. His presentation relied in part on research done during his term as a Dibner scholar.
Calinger and students from two of his Catholic University classes come to the Dibner today, Euler’s birthday – a coincidence! – to see in person some of the major scientific works from our collection (Euler among them, naturally) in their original editions, affording them a valuable glimpse of some significant primary source material.
The above portrait is one of several of Euler in the Dibner Library's collection of scientific portraits. —Kirsten van der Veen