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In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World


Equations are the lifeblood of mathematics, science, and technology. Without them, our world would not exist in its present form. However, equations have a reputation for being scary: Stephen Hawking’s publishers told him that every equation would halve the sales of A Brief History of Time.

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This is eye opening:

Stephen Hawking’s publishers told him that every equation would halve the sales of A Brief History of Time.

Ignoring the advice, Hawking included E = mc² even ‘when cutting it out would have sold another 10 millions copies.” 

The best equation is the first one:

Pythagoras’s theorem

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The first equation presented in the book.

What does it tell us?

How the three sides of a right-angled triangle are related.

Why is that important?

It provides a vital link between geometry and algebra, allowing us to calculate distances in terms of coordinates. It also inspired trigonometry.

What did it lead to?

Surveying, navigation, and more recently special and general relativity – the best current theories of space, time, and gravity.

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