Euler–Brilliant or Crazy? | Williams College Undergraduate Application Essay

Euler once wrote out the following equation: (a+b^n)/n=x.

At first glance, this function is unremarkable; there are too many unknowns for a single solution to exist. Though there are infinite combinations of a,b,n, and x to satisfy this function, none of them are groundbreaking. Why, then, would I bring it up?

This was Euler’s proof of God.

Interestingly enough, Euler never rationalized this claim. He presented it in court, and he was never given a chance to explain himself. Euler, a mathematical genius, believed that this simple function indicated a divine power, something beyond humanity.

I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit puzzling over this function. Despite scouring the Internet, I’ve never found logical reasoning to explain how this function could possibly prove the existence of God. Instead of accepting defeat, I dug a little deeper into Euler’s enigmatic mind and history. And, after further research, I realized Euler would be a fantastic tutorial partner.

Several of Euler’s works portray him as a pious Christian. In fact, before Bernoulli noticed Euler’s talent in mathematics, Euler was well on his way to becoming a pastor. The existence of God, to Euler, was a subject of great interest. But despite his ability…

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