Download e-book for iPad: A Brief Guide to the Great Equations: The Hunt for Cosmic by Robert Crease

By Robert Crease

ISBN-10: 1845292812

ISBN-13: 9781845292812

Listed here are the tales of the 10 most well-liked equations of all time as voted for by way of readers of "Physics World", together with - accessibly defined right here for the 1st time - the favorite equation of all, Euler's equation. every one is an equation that captures with attractive simplicity what can merely be defined clumsily in phrases. Euler's equation [eip + 1 = zero] was once defined by means of respondents as 'the so much 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 booklet explains either why those ten equations are so appealing and important, and the human tales at the back of them.

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Nevertheless, the magazine promised to devote ‘a due portion of its space to the solution of problems’ such as the Pythagorean theorem, to serve an educational purpose. ‘It [problem solving] is the ladder by which the mind ascends into the higher fields of original research and investigation. S. President James A. Garfield invented a proof. One who refused to quit was a schoolteacher and subscriber from Ohio named Elisha S. Loomis – a mason – who had contributed some of the proofs. Loomis continued to collect them, many passed on by teachers of bright youngsters who knew of his interest.

We will have to be patient with the first group; careful, even obsequious, with the second. In one of the most intricately plotted short pieces of literature extant, Plato uses the episode of the Pythagorean theorem in the Meno to show us that the journey of truth is much more difficult and perilous than the comfortable quest it is generally billed to be. Interlude RULES, PROOFS, AND THE MAGIC OF MATHEMATICS We all know the rule, but do we all know the proof? The Pythagorean theorem can be proven in many ways, sometimes even in ways that do not involve a single word.

20 Third, the Pythagorean theorem makes accessible the visceral thrill of discovery. Whenever we prove it, we can hardly be said to be ‘learning’ anything, for we learned the hypotenuse rule as schoolchildren. But as the proof proceeds – as we set the problem in a bigger context, and as the little pieces begin to snap together with an awesome inevitability – we seem to be taken out of the here and now to someplace else, a realm of truths far more ancient than we, a place we can reach with a little bit of effort no matter where we are.

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A Brief Guide to the Great Equations: The Hunt for Cosmic Beauty in Numbers by Robert Crease

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