I can’t believe I missed it. Just over weeks ago, mathematicians, statisticians, physicists and other nerds celebrated a very important day; one of the math-i-est of math-y days. And I missed it. Missed it! Gah!
That day was -day. “What is -day?”, you ask? Well, it’s only the celebration of Euler‘s1 constant, represented by the lowercase letter . Specifically
Notice how the first two digits have been used to identify the date on which this awesome number is to be celebrated. Two decimal seven, or February 7. This year. Last year. Every year. The date that I completely forgot. Gah! If I were in Mathemagical class at Hogwarts, Gryffindor would have just lost about million points2. Sigh.
Anyway, is a rather important number in the world of mathematics. Like , it is ubiquitous, appearing even when least expected. Probably the most bizarre place is in the famous equation
This particular equation (a.k.a. Euler’s Identity) is rather interesting, at least to math-y type people, given that it combines the multiplicative constant 1, the additive constant 0, the complex (a.k.a. imaginary) unit , Euler’s constant , and my favourite constant into one tidy package. Math is awesome.
Euler also gave us the exponential function , which can be written as follows:
And of course, we all know that this is the function whose derivative is itself. Crazy stuff. Finally, Euler also gave us the following formula
which can be used to generate Euler’s Identity (set and watch the magic happen).
So much awesome in one little constant.
On a fun note, check out this site. You can determine where in the first 27, 182, 818 base 27 digits of you can find your name.
- Dan appears 1358 times; the first occurrence starting at position 7066.
- Euler appears only twice; the first occurrence at position 18260334.
- Math appears 43 times; the first occurrence starting at position 125764.
- Pi appears 37535 times; the first occurrence starting at position 443.
2 Yes, I assume I would be part of Gryffindor, thank you for asking. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m now sporting a Harry Potter lightning scar on my forehead.
3 You can find this word cloud here.
- The Greatest Mathematician (alpup.blogspot.com)