By Robert Crease
Listed below are the tales of the 10 most well liked equations of all time as voted for by means of readers of "Physics World", together with - accessibly defined right here for the 1st time - the favorite equation of all, Euler's equation. each one is an equation that captures with appealing simplicity what can simply be defined clumsily in phrases. Euler's equation [eip + 1 = zero] used to be defined by means of respondents as 'the such a lot profound mathematic assertion ever written', 'uncanny and sublime', 'filled with cosmic attractiveness' and 'mind-blowing'. jointly those equations additionally volume to the world's such a lot concise and trustworthy physique of information. Many scientists and people with a mathematical bent have a gentle spot for equations. This ebook explains either why those ten equations are so appealing and important, and the human tales in the back of them.
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Extra resources for A Brief Guide to the Great Equations: The Hunt for Cosmic Beauty in Numbers
But he still has not gotten the point, and asks for more explanation. Trying another tack, Socrates says he’ll show Meno the process in action. He asks Meno to summon one of his slaves – ‘whichever you like’ – and Meno complies. Socrates then coaxes this young slave, a naive boy innocent of any mathematical training, to go on a little journey, proving the geometrical theorem that the area of the square formed on the diagonal connecting the corners of another square is twice the area of that other square – thus, the Pythagorean theorem involving an isosceles right-angled triangle.
Applications of it are found in the Śulbasūtras, the texts that accompany the Sutras or ‘sacred teachings’ of the Buddha, which seem to have been written between 500 and 100 BC but clearly pass on knowledge of much earlier times. 7 The earliest existing Chinese writing on astronomy and mathematics, the Zhou Bi Suan Jing (‘Gnomon of the Zhou’, containing texts dating from the first century BC but whose contents are said to be centuries earlier), likewise exhibits knowledge of the rule. One application is in a calculation of how far the sun is from the earth.
As they become increasingly skilled at reading the language of the river, they seem to grow correspondingly less able to appreciate its beauty and poetry. Features of the river – a floating log, a slanting mark on the water, a patch of choppy waves – that once aroused feelings of wonder and awe become increasingly appreciated only instrumentally, in terms of the use they have for piloting. Something similar is true of equations. But great scientists are often still able to marvel at the breakthroughs of their predecessors.
A Brief Guide to the Great Equations: The Hunt for Cosmic Beauty in Numbers by Robert Crease