2007 Leonhart Euler

The 3D sculptural portrait of Leonhard Euler has been developed as a contribution to a documentary film “Leonhard Euler In the Paradise of Scientists” (2007), by Wladimir Velminski. The film was produced on the occasion of the 300th birthday of the Swiss mathematician/scientist who spent most of his life in St. Petersburg.

From a Neva-Spiral emerges a fish, which swims into Euler’s eye, the reason for the scientist’s blindness. From this moment onward, an 18th century painting becomes a 3D portrait, which slowly transforms into an “Addition Fighting Fish”: a fish bearing the form of a + symbol, takes its place in the formula of the “Euler’s Relation”, a formula appreciated by many scientists as “the most beautiful one in the world”.

The portrait has also been rendered as an actual sculpture and exhibited at “Leonhard Euler in the Paradise of Scientists”, Humboldt University’s celebration of the scientist’s jubilee. The somewhat irregular portrait triggered considerable agitation amongst Swiss Euler specialists whose predecessors had exiled the scientist from Switzerland once before – so claimed the authors in a podium discussion that followed the film’s screening at Kunsthalle Basel cinema.