Summary and Info
The interest earned on a bank account, the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower, and the shape of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are all intimately connected with the mysterious number ^Ie^N. In this informal and engaging history, Eli Maor portrays the curious characters and the elegant mathematics that lie behind the number. Designed for a reader with only a modest background in mathematics, this biography of ^Ie^N brings out that number's central importance in mathematics and illuminates a golden era in the age of science. "This is a gently paced, elegantly composed book, and it will bring its readers much pleasure.... Maor has written an excellent book that should be in every public and school library." --Ian Stewart, New Scientist "Maor wonderfully tells the story of ^Ie^N. The chronological history allows excursions into the lives of people involved with the development of this fascinating number. Maor hangs his story on a string of people stretching from Archimedes to David Hilbert. And by presenting mathematics in terms of the humans who produced it, he places the subject where it belongs--squarely in the centre of the humanities." --Jerry P. King, Nature "Maor has succeeded in writing a short, readable mathematical story. He has interspersed a variety of anecdotes, excursions, and essays to lighten the flow.... [The book] is like the voyages of Columbus as told by the first mate." --Peter Borwein, ScienceAmazon.com Review 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. But e remains, the center of the natural logarithmic function and of calculus. Eli Maor's book is the only more or less popular account of the history of this universal constant. Maor gives human faces to fundamental mathematics, as in his fantasia of a meeting between Johann Bernoulli and J.S. Bach. e: The Story of a Number would be an excellent choice for a high school or college student of trigonometry or calculus. --Mary Ellen Curtin
More About the Author
Eli Maor, an Israel-born historian of mathematics, is the author of several books about the history of mathematics.
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