October 25, 2004

I like math

This is a nifty little story -- asking physicists what their favourite equations are. A bunch of them, naturally, are physics ones, and I have no idea what they mean, but Euler's equation, the Pythagorean theorem, Fourier Transforms, the formula for the circumference of a circle, and the Riemann zeta function, are all pure math.

Let me run down the left-hand side of this, for those of you who don't remember calculus (possibly because you haven't taken it yet). One of Euler's many, many achievements was discovering that exp(i*theta) (that's "e to the theta") is equal to cos(theta)+i*sin(theta). So if you plug pi radians in for theta (that's halfway around the circle, or 180 degrees), you'll get that exp(i*pi)=-1. Then add 1 to it, and voila, 0. Euler's eqution isn't so mysterious, once you've done a couple of semesters of calculus, but it still looks cool.


LameAim said...

That was English that you just went into now, right?

Because somehow it doesn't compute.

MosBen said...

So why is this important?

Anonymous said...

I think it was english...it's ok though. Dan's our little math geek. We should at least support his geekness a lil bit I suppose.

Noumena said...

It's important because it's cool, damnit.