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A Most Elegant Equation: Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  27 reviews
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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Basic Books
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  143 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Brian Clegg
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aside from E = mc2, there is no other mathematical formula that has had more books dedicated to it than Euler's equation, eiπ +1 = 0. In some ways it's not surprising - like Einstein's equation, Euler's is simple, yet combines essential quantities in a way that surprises and has interesting uses.

Not long ago I read Robin Wilson' Euler's Pioneering Equation, which started really well with some good history of maths on the main components of the equation, but then became too complex for the typica
Peter Mcloughlin
A good book for introducing this beautiful piece of mathematics for people with little mathematics background. A little gem that shows you some of the mindblowing stuff math does after High School. I know it turns off a lot of people from their K-12 experience but it gets really trippy in math when it goes to college. This book will give you a taste of what I mean.
Jimmy Ele
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book did exactly what the author set out for it to do. The author explains how this equation connects several seemingly disparate branches of mathematics. David Stipp does this with unconcealed wonder and glee. He also takes us through the steps that Euler underwent in order to derive the equation. David does this in such a simple way that only an elementary understanding of Mathematics is necessary to understand. This book is not a poetic work of art or "high literature" so the 5 star ratin ...more
Dan Ust
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mathematics
Not bad for what it is: a pre-analysis approach to the famous equation. He tosses in enough historical background to keep it from getting too mathy. (I was a math major, so I’m trying to put myself as a reader into the mind of someone who isn’t afraid of math yet who doesn’t want to overwhelmed.)
kartik narayanan
Read the full review at my site Digital Amrit

Mathematics textbooks call it Euler’s formula. But some people feel that that name is too mundane for what is arguably math’s most magnetic truth, as well as one of its most startling, and so they all it God’s Equation

What is the book about?
A Most Elegant Equation: Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics is written by David Stipp.

This book explores the history of this equation as well as the beauty of mathematics. This is a book for us to sit ba
Athan Tolis
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: math-science
When the educational merits of rote memorization come up in discussion, I have this annoying habit of telling my friends that math is a lot like a good poem: if you’re young enough when you memorize it, it gets burnt to the “hard disk” part of your brain, from where you can retrieve it when you’re mature enough to understand, or at least explore, its meaning.

I was fifteen when I became familiar with the equation on the cover (don’t ask!) and sure enough I recall it fully, so I had high hopes for
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Decent look at Euler's formula. Stipp clearly has a high regard for Euler (and rightfully so!) and his formula. He does a good job of describing the formula, especially with the trigonometry and the imaginary numbers. However, he does a lousy job at describing the impact and importance of the formula. He hints at it constantly but never says much more than "people studying electric currents used this formula." Seriously. What a let-down.

The last chapter was a bit of a switch. He discusses if mat
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very well done. A well researched, and deftly put forth argument in favor of the titular equation being worthy of high esteem (as equations go, which is far in the author's case). He makes his case, and then proceeds to give historical context all the while pointing out landmarks of great mathematical beauty. I am not a "math person" although it intrigues me and I something feel I could be one.

This book had the perfect amount of hand-holding for the lay person, and I took great relief when near
Karl Hallbjörnsson
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A neat little book, good for amateurs like myself. I've long wondered what Euler's equation or formula means, and now my curiosity has been satisfied. The most interesting chapter was the last one pertaining to the nature of mathematics, although I believe the author could have made good use of the writings of Immanuel Kant regarding the subject. All in all, informative for the layperson with interesting bits of philosophy and history scattered in between.
Chris Esposo
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent surprise of a book. The author has written this book as a layman survey of the Euler formula for the special case where x = pi, e^i*pi + 1 = 0, but eventually expands it to the general form of e^i*thera = cos theta + i*sin theta, and makes fairly elementary, but intricate, demonstrations like DeMoivres relation, with a brief interlude into finite series, then finally constructs the relation using a LHS, RHS argument with a finite series expansion of cos theta and sin theta, I *think ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Relatively short book. Once the rotating vector form of e^i theta comes into the book, the casual reader is probably lost. I'm and EE/Physics major so I liked this and wish more detail would have been given in the book overall. Non-math/tech people would have stopped reading very early in the book, so I would have taken a much stronger approach to the presentation. I recall a couple key statements in the book I liked: pg 140:
"Today, Euler's formula is a tool as basic to electrical engineers and
Choam Goldberg
Poche cose sono difficili come la divulgazione della matematica: di fronte al primo sforzo intellettuale necessario, il lettore quadratico medio aggrotta la fronte, sbuffa, poi molla e va a leggersi qualcosa di più facile. Questo saggio – è facile prevederlo – rischia di fare la stessa fine. Se così fosse, sarebbe un vero peccato, perché al prezzo di un po' di concentrazione regala alcune ore di puro godimento intellettuale. Infatti non solo spiega che cos'è l'identità di Eulero, com'è stata sco ...more
Meredith Miles
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A strong start, but the momentum fizzles by the last 3 chapters or so. The author’s prose is strong in parts where equations are actually made unnecessary! Yet the constant inclusion of equations served to break the book’s pace and snap me out of the word-based journey through Euler’s formula.

(For what it’s worth: this is coming from a STEM professional for whom numeric notation sometimes feels more native than English)
Antonio Santoyo
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book that explains, in concrete and easy to follow concepts and examples, one of the most beautiful mathematical expressions of all time in all its dept and, by many standards, in pretty much all of its complexity. It reminds us that out there, wether we know it or not, the cosmos keeps speaking its eerie and enticing mathematical language, for us to understand and admire.
Mark Koppelkam
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I love author's passion for this topic - the man Euler and his math. I haven't thought about radians and imaginary numbers for many decades, but author kept me interested and engaged. Nice to be challenged by a book. The connections between branches of math (and how the world applies them) are a wonderful revelation.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, library
Very interesting history of euler’s number and the equation e^i(pi)-1=0

I recommend getting the actual book as I had some trouble with the equations being read. But interestingly Euler probably wouldn’t have any trouble with non-visual mathematics.
Amy Matro
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An informative read, beginning with the basics of the transcendental number e and going into Euler’s equation. There’s another book about e which also touches upon Euler’s formula, called “The Story of e”, it’s a bit more technical, so I recommend this book by David Stripp first.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mai capito i numeri complessi.
Sempre stato una capra in matematica, da un certo livello in su. Effettivamente anche oggi, un poco lo sono.
Però il saggio è decisamente interessante e ben scritto, abbastanza comprensibile anche per me.
Quindi 3 stelle e mezza li merita.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Molto ben spiegato (anche troppo ripetitivo in alcuni casi) e la parte storica ben proposta.
Ritorno alla matematica, ricordarsi anche dei quaternioni di passaggio dopo 30 anni.
Alfred Bryce
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Renewed my interest in the subject matter
Sean Hannifin
Jan 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
You're better off learning about the equation from YouTube videos. Not much substance here.
Geoff Walling
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really well done, but will only appeal to a few people. Clearly lays out the derivation of the formula, but you better know some math.
Thor Kamphefner
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
There wasn't much substance to this book, and I often found the author's voice annoying. I can't imagine very many readers of this book are at the level he had written the book to.
Roberto Rigolin F Lopes
We are in 2017, David noticed that the prettiest equation was not in his textbooks. And you probably never saw it at school either. What?! So he decided to write this book to fix this ugly mistake. Of course bright people (say autoditats thrilled with mathematics) find Euler’s identity early in life but we (hungry-minded laypersons) never see the sexy stuff. Good news. Here comes an accessible compilation of history (including a bit of Euler's impressive biography), fundamental concepts and a ge ...more
Matt Oliver
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great Maths book, well-written so it is appropriate for most who read it.
Fermat's last theorem - from Simon Singh is the one to beat though.
Evan Yang
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very well explained and thoughtful.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kudos for doing a proof on a pop math book. It just doesn’t translate well in an audiobook.
rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2018
Stoyan Stoyanov
rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2018
Frank Jenkins
rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2018
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“The association of multiplication with vector rotation was one of the geometric interpretation's most important elements because it decisively connected the imaginaries with rotary motion. As we'll see, that was a big deal.” 3 likes
“If you were given to thinking of numbers as having human-like qualities, you might picture e^i*pi as a guru into transcendental meditation who'd achieved infinite enlightenment. But there's a problem with that-Euler's formula shows that e^i*pi can never free itslef from worldly concerns. Recall, e^i*pi is really -1 in disguise, and -1 is just a mathism for owing a dollar to your friend, Steve. One hand clapping.” 1 likes
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