A Most Elegant Equation – David Stipp
A Most Elegant Equation – Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics.
Bertrand Russell wrote that mathematics can exalt “as surely as poetry.”
This is especially true of one equation: ei(pi) + 1 = 0, the brainchild of Leonhard Euler, the Mozart of mathematics. More than two centuries after Euler’s death, it is still regarded as a conceptual diamond of unsurpassed beauty. Called Euler’s identity or God’s equation, it includes just five numbers but represents an astonishing revelation of hidden connections.
It ties together everything from basic arithmetic to compound interest, the circumference of a circle, trigonometry, calculus, and even infinity. In David Stipp’s hands, Euler’s identity formula becomes a contemplative stroll through the glories of mathematics. The result is an ode to this magical field.
“A Most Elegant Equation is a smart, incisive account of Euler’s famous equation. It beautifully and seamlessly straddles the line between the salient ideas of the equation’s proof and its historical, scientific, and philosophical significance.”
— John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University and author of Innumeracy and A Numerate Life
“Even though Pi, e, and i are Very Important Numbers, they seemed unrelated—until Euler discovered a simple, beautiful, and totally unexpected link between them. This delightful book shows us why the formula is surprising, yet inevitable. Thoroughly enjoyable!”
— Ian Stewart, author of Significant Figures
“Does mathematics transcend our humanness, or is it simply a human construct? Either way, the astonishing interconnections and stunning beauty that mathematics offers can only serve to uplift our human souls. The poetry of ‘e to the i pi,’ as exemplified by David Stipp, masterfully proves this.”
— James Tanton, Mathematician-at-Large for the Mathematical Association of America
“As a non-professional recovering mathlete, I found A Most Elegant Equation a delightful excursion into the beauty of mathematical thinking. Not only is Stipp a great storyteller, he is a terrific teacher with an easy conversational style who makes the most complex concepts lucid. For anyone who was ever afraid of math, here’s your cure.”
— Richard A. Friedman, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and contributing Op-Ed writer for the New York Times
David Stipp is a science writer whose work has appeared in Scientific American, the New York Times, Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Science, Fortune, and other publications. Basic Books published his second book, A Most Elegant Equation: Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics, in November 2017. In 2010, Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Books, published his book on the science of aging, The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution.
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