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Here are the stories of the ten most popular equations of all time as voted for by readers of Physics World, including – accessibly described here for the first time – the favourite equation of all, Euler’s equation.
Each is an equation that captures with beautiful simplicity what can only be described clumsily in words. Euler’s equation [eip + 1 = 0] was described by respondents as ‘the most profound mathematic statement ever written’, ‘uncanny and sublime’, ‘filled with cosmic beauty’ and ‘mind-blowing’. Collectively these equations also amount to the world’s most concise and reliable body of knowledge.
Many scientists and those with a mathematical bent have a soft spot for equations. This book explains both why these ten equations are so beautiful and significant, and the human stories behind them.