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All the sources I've read say that Leonhard Euler presented his paper on the Konigsberg bridge problem to the St. Petersburg Academy on August 26, 1735.

However, they don't seem to agree on what year the paper was first published in journal form.

For example, Wikipedia gives 1741 as the year of the journal publication.

Euler's work was presented to the St. Petersburg Academy on August 26, 1735, and published as Solutio problematis ad geometriam situs pertinentis (The solution of a problem relating to the geometry of position) in the journal Commentarii academiae scientiarum Petropolitanae in 1741.

But page 3 of Norman L. Biggs, E. Keith Lloyd, and Robin J. Wilson's Graph Theory 1736--1936 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998) states that the paper (L. Euler's Solutio problematis ad geometriam situs pertinentis in Commentarii Academiae Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae, 8, 128-140) was published in 1736.

This wepage gives the year 1741, this webpage gives the year 1736, and so on.

Was Euler's paper in volume 8, pages 128-140 of the Proceedings of the St. Petersburg Academy published in 1736 or in 1741?

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  • $\begingroup$ According to MathWorld, the journal paper was reprinted in the Opera Omnia in 1766, so that doesn't explain "1741." $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Jan 23 '15 at 6:12
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    $\begingroup$ This is a common problem with old journals. The nominal date does not correspond to the date when the issue was actually published. For this reason, volume (and issue if applicable) contain more useful information than the year. BTW these Proceedings are freely available on the web. All mathematical papers are in Latin, all other sciences in French. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 23 '15 at 23:24
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With all due respect to the Euler Archive, one should note that they are not a primary source. (Nor are they especially forthcoming in sourcing their data: "according the the records"...) The original work dating Euler's papers and their oral presentation is the Jacobi-Fuss correspondence Briefwechsel über die Herausgabe der Werke Leonhard Eulers (Ed. Paul Stäckel and Wilhelm Ahrens; Teubner, Leipzig, 1908), which in this case gives

Jacobi-Fuss

(Note that the citation is in just the form @JoelReyesNoche suggests.) This information was then subsumed in G. Eneström's Verzeichnis der Schriften Leonhard Eulers (Jber. Deutsche Math.-Verein. Ergänzungsbände 4 (1913) 1-388), and of course in the (still ongoing) Herausgabe of Euler's works.

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Thanks to Mauro Allegranza, I visited the Euler Archive and found this:

The Commentarii academiae scientiarum imperialis Petropolitanae (CASP) was the first journal series published by the St. Petersburg Academy. Its publication eventaully ran to 14 annual volumes, of which Euler published in numbers 2-14.

One feature to note is that the publication lag for each journal was quite large; The years which appear as volume numbers can lag up to 10 years behind the actual year of publication. When possible, both dates are noted below.

And later on:

Volume 8: 1736, published 1741.

So the date printed on the journal was 1736, but it was actually printed in 1741. Perhaps I'll just write 1736(1741) when I cite it.

CASP volume 8 cover

(The image above was taken from here.)

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the journal's cover, which actually bears both dates, MDCCXXXVI and mdccxli. $\endgroup$ – Francois Ziegler Jan 23 '15 at 10:23
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    $\begingroup$ "Ad annum MDCCXXXVI" means "(proceedings) for the year 1736". The actual date of publication is given at the bottom of the page as cb b cc xli (1741). $\endgroup$ – fdb Jan 23 '15 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ That's right; cb = m and b = d. $\endgroup$ – Francois Ziegler Jan 23 '15 at 10:56
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You have to check into The Euler Archive : search by publications under : Commentarii Academiae Scientiarum Petropolitanae :

  • n*53 : Solutio problematis ad geometriam situs pertinentis.

According to the records, it was presented to the St. Petersburg Academy on August 26, 1735.

Originally published in Commentarii academiae scientiarum Petropolitanae 8, 1741, pp. 128-140.

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Yes, Euler papers have three dates (see the Euler Archive) -- when they were presented to the St Petersburg or Berlin Academy, when they were written, and also when they were published. Euler presented the Konigsberg result to the Academy in August 1735 and it was published in the 1736 issue of the Commentarii which didn't actually appear until 1741. For more on Euler's paper see 'The truth about Konigsberg' by Brian Hopkins and myself, which appeared in the College Mathematics journal in 2004 and won an MAA Polya prize in 2005. Robin Wilson

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    $\begingroup$ Here's a link to the paper mentioned above: maa.org/programs/maa-awards/writing-awards/… $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 9 '15 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the reference. For those interested, here's a summary of the paper: The authors place Euler's views on the Konigsberg bridges problem in their historical context, present his method of solution, and trace the development of the present-day solution. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 9 '15 at 0:40

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