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(36,988 posts)
Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:20 PM Jan 2013

The 11 Most Beautiful Mathematical Equations [View all]

Mathematical equations aren't just useful — many are quite beautiful. And many scientists admit they are often fond of particular formulas not just for their function, but for their form, and the simple, poetic truths they contain.

While certain famous equations, such as Albert Einstein's E = mc^2, hog most of the public glory, many less familiar formulas have their champions among scientists. LiveScience asked physicists, astronomers and mathematicians for their favorite equations; here's what we found:
General relativity

The equation above was formulated by Einstein as part of his groundbreaking general theory of relativity in 1915. The theory revolutionized how scientists understood gravity by describing the force as a warping of the fabric of space and time.

"It is still amazing to me that one such mathematical equation can describe what space-time is all about," said Space Telescope Science Institute astrophysicist Mario Livio, who nominated the equation as his favorite. "All of Einstein's true genius is embodied in this equation." [Einstein Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of the Genius]
"The right-hand side of this equation describes the energy contents of our universe (including the 'dark energy' that propels the current cosmic acceleration)," Livio explained. "The left-hand side describes the geometry of space-time. The equality reflects the fact that in Einstein's general relativity, mass and energy determine the geometry, and concomitantly the curvature, which is a manifestation of what we call gravity." [6 Weird Facts About Gravity]

"It's a very elegant equation," said Kyle Cranmer, a physicist at New York University, adding that the equation reveals the relationship between space-time and matter and energy. "This equation tells you how they are related — how the presence of the sun warps space-time so that the Earth moves around it in orbit, etc. It also tells you how the universe evolved since the Big Bang and predicts that there should be black holes."

To read the list of the 11 go to the link:


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having studied mathematics and statistics for a number of years, I appreciate elegance in DrDan Jan 2013 #1
I find Eulers identity wonderful intaglio Jan 2013 #2
It's even more beautiful when expressed using tau pokerfan Jan 2013 #3
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I prefer the equation with pi because . . . Geoff R. Casavant Jan 2013 #4
OK, how about this pokerfan Jan 2013 #5
Thanks tama Jan 2013 #8
+1 tama Jan 2013 #7
The relation it comes from struggle4progress Jan 2013 #9
Yeah, we EE's get that beaten into our skulls at an early age pokerfan Feb 2013 #16
My favorites pokerfan Jan 2013 #6
Viewed from a sufficiently advanced PoV the Liebniz formula is by itself a proof struggle4progress Jan 2013 #10
The last "surprising one" is (of course) seen false, if computed well enough struggle4progress Jan 2013 #11
spoilsport pokerfan Jan 2013 #12
oops struggle4progress Jan 2013 #13
This is a fun read... pokerfan Jan 2013 #14
thanks! that is fun! struggle4progress Jan 2013 #15
aka Ramanujan's constant ... to see why ... eppur_se_muova Feb 2013 #17
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