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Joseph-Louis LeGrange

In 1756 Lagrange sent Euler results that he had obtained on applying the calculus of variations to mechanics. These results generalized results which Euler had himself obtained and Euler consulted Maupertuis, the president of the Berlin Academy, about this remarkable young mathematician. Not only was Lagrange an outstanding mathematician but he was also a strong advocate for the principle of least action so Maupertuis had no hesitation but to try to entice Lagrange to a position in Prussia. He arranged with Euler that he would let Lagrange know that the new position would be considerably more prestigious than the one he held in Turin. However, Lagrange did not seek greatness, he only wanted to be able to devote his time to mathematics, and so he shyly but politely refused the position. – From MacTutor’s History of Mathematics.

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It took the mob only a moment to remove his head; a century will not suffice to reproduce it.
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Joseph-Louis LeGrange

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