From natural philosophy to science. Euler's inquiry of nature viewed through his optics

Start - End 
2011 - 2016 (ongoing)
Department of Philosophy and moral sciences
Research Focus 



This research project investigates the way in which Leonhard Euler's optics, mechanics and acoustics, influenced the eighteenth century transition from early modern natural philosophy to modern science. The main question pursued concerns the way in which Euler's mathematical tools and his constant attempt at capturing natural phenomena in a mathematical setting interact with his natural philosophy. It is surprising that given Euler's stature, his ideas on science and their connection to philosophy have hardly been investigated so far. Euler is one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time. While historical research into Euler's mathematics is abundant, the links to his natural philosophy are hardly studied, although he engaged in the most scientific debates and had applied his advances in mathematical analysis to the framing and development of Newton's physics. The study and recovery of Euler's ideas may be interesting in their own right and should offer a better understanding of the evolving interplay of philosophy and science in the eighteenth century. 




Phd Student(s)