Leonhard Euler Was Smarter Than You

Leonhard Euler Was Smarter Than You

A short biography on the smartest man you've never heard of.
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To those of you who have taken Calculus, let me say a few words that are sure to send chills down your spine: Euler's Method!


OH GOD!

Remember that? You had to approximate the derivative, and then approximate it again, and again, and again, and again, and again...

You get the point! What kind of maniac would invent something like that? Until last week, I was sure that he must've been some kind of psychopath, wrapped in a straitjacket, only allowed to be free when he was asked to do math.

But much to my surprise, I was completely wrong! After learning about some of the smartest men in the history of mankind in my History of Calculus class (I'm not as boring as you think, I promise) we finally got to the man at the forefront of every Calculus 1 student's nightmare, Leonhard Euler.

Not only is he not a maniac, but he is also much smarter and way more dedicated than you and I can ever hope to be.


Euler was born in 1707 and began attending the University of Basel in Switzerland in 1720, where he initially planned on studying theology. You read that right: while you and I were busy picking our noses and playing with tamagotchis, Leonhard Euler was already in college. And you may be thinking: well yeah, but he was studying theology, so big whoop.

And that's exactly what I thought too! (No offense to you aspiring priests and nuns. Please forgive me.)

Upon getting at Basel, however, Euler decided to switch his focus from theology to mathematics, and ultimately changed the course of history.

He graduated with his MA from Basel in 1723 (for those of you keeping track, that's a BA and an MA in three years) and started on writing what would ultimately amount to 900 books on mathematics. He shed light on some of the most important concepts in mathematics like the natural logarithm, the taking of derivatives, and I'll stop now before you fall asleep.


The math isn't important (well, it is, but bear with me). What is important that is that in 1738 he went blind in one eye due to a fever (mull that over, anti-vaxxers), yet he continued to produce mathematical proofs at a prolific rate.

But then, in 1766, he went completely blind, and...

HE KEPT DOING MATH! IN HIS HEAD! But how, you might ask, was able to write it down?

He would dictate to anybody who would listen, and they would write it down. His children. His grandchildren. His friends.

He even made sure that his servants were fluent in Latin so that he could dictate to them as well. Do you know how hard it was to find a servant who knew Latin in the 18th century?

About as hard as it is to find anybody who knows Latin today.

Have you ever done anything remotely as impressive as all of that? Have you ever been that dedicated to anything in your life? No?

Me neither!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Just A Little Further: Finding Your Point B

When you find yourself giving up, ask, "Can I go any further?"

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I despise running.

Ever since I was an out of shape fifth-grader in desperate need of conditioning before basketball season, and my mom forced me to start using the treadmill, I have held a deep and personal hatred for running close to my heart.

Nonetheless, as I've gotten older, I've begun to appreciate running, both for its many health benefits and also the feeling it can bring - not the exhausted, "I wanna die" kind of feeling, but the release of adrenaline a good run can bring. A "runner's high," as it's called. So despite my loathing of the activity, I run.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platinum_%26_Gold_Collection_(A_Flock_of_Seagulls_album) No, no no. I run, not "I Ran . . ."Credit: Wikipedia

In a seemingly unrelated tangent, I'm currently writing this during a temporary break in my college coursework - but a break I know won't last for long. Last week, I had two big exams, an important group presentation, and a paper all due within two days, and next week I'll be busy studying for a difficult physics exam on Friday, all as I try to prepare for the next phase of my group project. While I wish I could say this is merely a temporary uptick in my course load, it isn't. I've been just as busy for the last month or so, and it doesn't look like I'll be catching a break anytime soon.

That's all well and good, you say, but hey, college is tough for everybody. And what does my disdain for running have to do with my ever-increasing amount of homework?

Well, the answer lies in finding your "Point B." Allow me to explain.

I'm out on a jog. It's hot, the air is sticky, and I'm getting tired. While I may not notice it, my strides have gradually gone from long & powerful to short and choppy, and I'm on the verge of quitting. In all-too-familiar situations like this, there's one mental strategy I routinely go back to, to give myself that extra push I need to run on a little bit farther. And that's finding my "Point B."

What I do is I pick a landmark out in front of me - an intersection, a tree, a telephone pole - it doesn't matter what, but preferably it's something I can see. And then I have a conversation with myself.

Okay, I think. See that tree right up there? You can make it there, right? It's not that much farther. You've already made it this far. And lo and behold, a minute or two later I find myself there. But I'm not done yet.

Okay, you made it. You've got some more left in the tank, right? See that stop sign up ahead? Go for that. So I keep going.

And that's the essence of finding a "Point B." You use all the energy needed to get to that point, and once you make it there, you take a mental inventory. If you do need to stop and walk for a little, that's totally fine. You made it there. But if you think you can keep going, don't stop. Throw that Point B out further in front of you - and do that again and again and again, until finally have to stop. Try it on your next jog; I guarantee it'll improve your endurance.

But the real beauty of this tactic is that its applications go far beyond just suffering through an evening jog. You can utilize "Point B's" at work, in class, and even just during everyday life. This isn't some revolutionary new approach at all; in fact, I think we all do it at least on a subconscious level. Ever told yourself, "I just gotta get to this weekend & my life will get easy?" Of course you have; we all have. But once you can make this type of thinking more of a conscious objective, you'll find that it can do so much more for you.


https://examinedexistence.com/does-cramming-for-tests-work/ We've all been here a few times before.Credit: examinedexistence.com


And that's all the "Point B" system is, really. You find a fixed landmark out ahead of you - whether it's the tree you gotta make it to, or Friday night after your test - and you make it there. And once you get there, you see if you can go any further.

So this week, once I finally manage to start cramming for a physics test that I am, at least at the moment, woefully underprepared for, this is how I'm going to be thinking. And I want you to try it, too. That's right, as a reward for making it this far into my article, I'm assigning you homework. It's your own fault, really.

Next time you're starting to fall behind on a jog, or you find yourself pulling an all-nighter to cram for that test you forgot was tomorrow, or even if you're just going through a rough patch in your life, pick your Point B.

When you find yourself giving up, ask: "Can I go any further?"

Because I'm willing to bet that you can.

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