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A Most Elegant Equation

David Stipp

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Mathematics, Calculus & mathematical analysis

An award-winning science writer introduces us to mathematics using the extraordinary equation that unites five of mathematics' most important numbers

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 becomes a contemplative stroll through the glories of mathematics. The result is an ode to this magical field.

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