Math in the Media

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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Euler vindicated after 250 years," by Nicola Jones. New Scientist, 4 January2003, page 14.

In the 1700s, the king of Prussia wanted to build a 30-meter high fountain inhis palace gardens. But the pipes his technicians built for the fountain keptbursting. The failure has generally been attributed to wrong advice suppliedto the king by the mathematician Leonhard Euler, renowned for his work on fluidflow. Now Michael Eckert of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, after combingcarefully through Euler's letters to the king, has published a paper sayingthat Euler actually gave the king the right advice. The article quotesEckert's paper: ``Rather than blaming Euler, a much more plausible cause of thebungling...was the king's stinginess.''

--- Allyn Jackson