A timeline of mathematical equations, not that I understand them

I spotted THIS timeline of equations on Kottke.org. It’s taken from a book by mathematician Ian Stewart entitled, In Pursuit of the Unknown.

The Kottke website also has a lovely story on Bill Gates and one of my heroes, Richard Feynman, of which more later.

17 Equations

One thought on “A timeline of mathematical equations, not that I understand them

  1. These are all very interesting, and thank you for bringing them to our attention. From start to finish, I have come across these equations in

    1.) High school algebra;
    2.) High school trigonometry;
    3.) Initially, precalculus in high school, but I didn’t realize the equation’s significance until I learned about limits in AP Calc.;
    4.) AP Physics in high school, and now in Univ. Physics II in college, because Physics II is all about fields and forces;
    5.) Sadly, not until differential equations, but that is just a testament of how _slow_ progress is in mathematics classes;
    6.) This one’s new to me;
    7.) I’ve written a number of programs to fit these functions to stellar profiles in images using Gradient Descent;
    8.) I have yet to take a partial differential equations course – but I definitely plan on it;
    9.) Fourier series are introduced in D. Widder’s _Advanced Calculus_ book, which is really awesome;
    10.) I definitely plan on studying fluid mechanics and, more generally, fluids, at some point;
    11.) We’re studying Maxwell’s Equations in Physics II, which I’ve mentioned previously;
    12.) I’m not sure what this equation means…is it a differential? I guess I’ll have to read his book to understand it!
    13.) This is ubiquitous these days;
    14.) Chemistry is awesome, and I’ve read quite a bit about the early applications of this equation. L. J. Slater worked on numerical solutions with the Hydrogen atom on the EDSAC in the late 50s or so, because (as she claimed) the United States was setting off these atomic bombs without any idea before-hand how large it was going to be.
    15.) This looks a lot like the diversity index. Blimey! It is!
    16.) I first read about this equation, Feigenbaum, and a number of other Mathematicians and Physicists, in James Gleick’s _Chaos_. Moreover, the birth of Chaos Theory. Very interesting stuff.
    17.) I’ve never seen this equation before, like [6] above.

    Can’t wait to read this book!


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