From Publishers Weekly
Although most people can recite Einstein's famous little equation, even if we don't know quite what it means, who has heard of the 18th-century mathematician Leonhard Euler, let alone know anything at all about his famous equation? Crease, a Stony Brook philosophy professor and popular science writer, has already taken on the ten most beautiful experiments in science in The Prism and the Pendulum
, and in this enjoyable book he explores 10 rather beautiful equations. He begins with the beguiling simplicity of the equation that bears Pythogoras' name (although he says the Greek wasn't the first to discover it) and moves on to Newton's second law of motion and law of universal gravitation, the second law of thermodynamics, Maxwell's celebrated equations, discoveries by Einstein and Schrödinger and, finally, Heisenberg's famous uncertainty principle. Crease explains the significance of each of these formulas for science and, in brief interludes between chapters, explores the journeys these scientists took from ignorance to knowledge, and the social lives of their theories—their impact on the larger culture. Any reader who aspires to be scientifically literate will find this a good starting place. 43 illus. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the
“More than just a celebration of the great equations . . . [Crease] shows how an equation not only affects science and math but also transforms the thinking of all people.” (Dick Teresi)
“Wry, probing, philosophically inclined.” (Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)