Loading... ## e: The Story of a Number (1994)## by Eli Maor
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Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. No current Talk conversations about this book. Mathematics, History Like its more famous cousin pi, e is an irrational number that shows up in unexpected places all over mathematics. It also has a much more recent history, not appearing on the scene until the 16th century. My favorite parts of this book were the historical anecdotes such as the competitive Bernoullis and the Nerwton-Leibniz cross-Channel calculus feud. Unfortunately, this math history text is much heavier on the math than the history, including detailed descriptions of limits, derivatives, integrals, and imaginary numbers. The trouble with this large number of equationsis that if you’re already familiar with the concepts you’ll be doing a lot of skimming, but if the subject is confusing then reading this book will probably not give you any new insights. In short, as much as I normally enjoy books about math and science, this particular one felt too much like a textbook. Recommended only for those folks with a very strong love for the calculus and related topics. To a non-math person, the best thing about this book will be the title. It is quite dense in advanced calculus, complex variables and crazy concepts of number theory that I would have had to use a pad of paper on the side to figure out what was really going on. The problem for me was that I didn't see a particular point to the whole exercise, other than e is a very special case among irrational/transcendental numbers, namely it is the only function (an 'equation') that is equal to its own derivative. If that makes no sense to you then all you need to do is chuckle at the title. By the way, 'e' is a notation for a special base in a logarithm system. On a calculator you will find a button 'log' for base-10 logarithms (and an inverse 10^x) as well as a 'ln' for natural logarithms, with its inverse 'e^x'. Again, if this makes no sense then just giggle a little politely and back away slowly. no reviews | add a review
References to this work on external resources. ## Wikipedia in English (6)
Until about 1975, logarithms were every scientist's best friend. They were the basis of the slide rule that was the totemic wand of the trade, listed in huge books consulted in every library. Then hand-held calculators arrived, and within a few years slide rules were museum pieces. |
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As a non-mathematician I had to skip the most complicated moments, but still appreciated the overall story. ( )