Google's Euler doodle highlights an O.G. math star

The search engine celebrated Tax Day by paying tribute to one of the original numbers guys on his 306th birthday.

This parchment has major math geek cred. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

It's another good day to be a numbers nerd, at least based on Google's doodle tribute to Swiss super-mathematician Leonhard Euler that showed up earlier.

How appropriate that Euler, considered the pre-eminent mathematician of the 18th century, should have been born on our modern Tax Day. Ignoring the IRS' big day is also likely to be much less controversial than failing to acknowledge Easter with a doodle.

If he'd lived to see his 306th birthday today something tells me Euler would either be one rockin' CPA, or the only guy to understand derivatives markets.

Back in his day, Euler dabbled in just about every pursuit that a quant of that era could hope to wrap his mind around -- calculus, graph theory, fluid dynamics, astronomy, mechanics, optics, logic, among others.

Google's doodle highlights some of Euler's most lasting and influential formulas, which I'm not able to grasp today after pouring too much of my brain power into my 1040 over the weekend. But people with more powerful gray matter who understand Euler often tend to sing his praises, like physicist Richard Feynman, who called Euler's most famous formula "our jewel" and "one of the most remarkable, almost astounding, formulas in all of mathematics."

So, while not exactly a household name to many of us, Euler was clearly in a class not unlike that of Steve Jobs in his day.

Or perhaps the doodlers at Google prefer to think of him more as a distant predecessor to Larry and Sergey.

 

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