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Bridges to Infinity: The Human Side of Mathematics

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Most of the reasons that I have written this book can be explained in terms of what reportedly happened one day in the eighteenth century when the great German mathematician Leonhard Euler confronted the eminent French scholar and atheist Denis Diderot with a spurious mathematical proof for the existence of God. Euler, it seems, accepted an invitation to meet Diderot, who at the time was in attendance at the royal court of the Russian Czar. On the day of his arrival, the story goes, Euler strode up to Diderot and proclaimed: "Monsieur, (a + bn)/n = X, donc Dieu existe; repondez!" [Sir, (a + bn)/n = X, therefore, God exists; respond!] In the past, the French scholar had eloquently and forcefully refuted many a clever philosophical argument for the existence of God, but at this moment, at a loss to comprehend the meaning of this mathematical equation, Diderot was intimidated into silence.
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