The Secret Life of Equations: The 50 Greatest Equations and by Rich Cochrane

By Rich Cochrane

Albert Einstein's normal idea of relativity (E=mc2), is a critical conception in glossy physics with implications on our perception into every little thing from black holes to the growth of the universe. yet how did Einstein get a hold of it? And what has occurred to it due to the fact then?

The mystery lifetime of Equations isn't really a arithmetic ebook yet a map during which readers can realize equations from a unique standpoint. chosen from geometry, know-how, technology, likelihood and arithmetic, the 50 equations are explored in terms of their historical past. Why have been they wanted? How have been they constructed? what's their worth this present day?

The equations are offered as follows:

  • Concise, comprehensible textual content highlighted with shrewdpermanent illustrations.
  • visible and textual descriptions of the equations' elements, for final readability.
  • "What's It approximately" fictional situations to give an explanation for the unique difficulties or theories in wish of an answer or facts.
  • "What's It sturdy For?" descriptions inform how the equations proved theories and the way they're used this day.

In easy textual content, the e-book follows the evolution of every equation, bringing to lifestyles the bright minds and specific characters that starred within the tale, and the way their achievements complicated glossy concept. It issues out the faults and difficulties that arose and explains how the equations are primary to our realizing of the area, let alone the unfathomable universe.

The mystery lifetime of Equations will enlighten and entertain in equivalent degree. it truly is very good for readers attracted to arithmetic heritage and for college kids that might enjoy the allegorical motives.

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Extra resources for The Secret Life of Equations: The 50 Greatest Equations and How They Work

Sample text

This is worth doing as we’ll see them coming up in quite a few other equations in this book and they’re nothing like as scary as they first appear. The first is the big zigzag-like symbol, Σ, which is actually a capital This diagram shows Betty’s progress towards the door: each time interval she crosses half the distance remaining. The total distance is finite, but the number of steps is infinite. Zeno’s Dichotomy 19 letter sigma from the Greek alphabet. The second is the ‘lim’ itself. Sigma is the Greek alphabet’s equivalent to the letter S, which in this case stands for ‘sum’.

Sometimes that means spending time unpacking or decoding notation. Sometimes it means working through a simple example. Sometimes it means getting to the bottom of something obscure or, by contrast, catching a hurried glimpse of it as we zoom past. In fact, in terms of a traditional sequence of maths education, this book is incredibly uneven: one minute you’re dealing with a bit of high-school algebra, then on the next page you hit something you’d meet only late-on in a university degree. I’ve chosen to ignore that, because mathematical subjects don’t come with predefined levels of difficulty.

However, in inventing them, Fibonacci gave birth to the really important general idea of a ‘recurrence relation’. This is, crudely put, any sequence of numbers whose next term depends only on one or more of the terms before it, according to a rule that never changes. The way recurrence relations evolve the next value from the ones that have gone before makes them very useful for describing processes that develop over time. Extremely simple recurrence relations govern the amount of money in your savings account (assuming you put by the same amount every month), for example, and the amount you owe on your mortgage [see Logarithms, page 36].

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