By Robert Crease

Listed below are the tales of the 10 most well-liked equations of all time as voted for through readers of "Physics World", together with - accessibly defined the following for the 1st time - the favorite equation of all, Euler's equation. every one is an equation that captures with appealing simplicity what can in basic terms be defined clumsily in phrases. Euler's equation [eip + 1 = zero] used to be defined via respondents as 'the so much profound mathematic assertion ever written', 'uncanny and sublime', 'filled with cosmic attractiveness' and 'mind-blowing'. jointly those equations additionally quantity to the world's such a lot concise and trustworthy physique of data. Many scientists and people with a mathematical bent have a delicate spot for equations. This booklet explains either why those ten equations are so appealing and critical, and the human tales at the back of them.

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Robert P. Crease is a professor in and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University in New York, and historian at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He writes a monthly column, ‘Critical Point’, for Physics World magazine. His previous books include The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science; Making Physics: A Biography of Brookhaven National Laboratory; The Play of Nature: Experimentation as Performance; The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics (with Charles C.

It shows an arrangement of terms that asserts a particular kind of relationship among them. This little but fundamental equation opens so many doors that it seems like a magic wand. It is virtually the entrée into knowledge itself – the first little step, the basis for each of thousands of steps to follow. Richard Harrison, a poet and English teacher at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Canada, once wrote to me of this profound expression: 1 + 1 = 2 is the fairy tale of mathematics, the first equation I taught my son, the first expression of the miraculous power of the mind to change the real world.

When people like Hobbes see the Pythagorean theorem, they can pay attention to two very different things: to the product, rule, or thing proven – the hypotenuse rule – or to the process, the proving, or the way it is known. The rule is extremely important, crucial to describing the space around us. It is invaluable to carpenters, architects, and surveyors in small and large-scale construction projects. This is one reason Freemasons – the esoteric organization said to have been born in medieval stonemason guilds – adopted the Pythagorean theorem as a symbol.

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