Shinzen Young, in reponse to a Brain Pickings post on seventeen historically significant mathematical equations:
Just for the record, here's my all-time favorite equation:
First, let me admit that the way I just wrote it involves some abuse of notation. Properly, it should be written this way:
But I think the former form is justified for the visual effect.
To the eye, it seems to equate two closed curves that have symmetry: A regular triangle, with 3-fold rotational symmetry (the minimum possible) and the circle with infinite rotational symmetry (the maximum possible).
This equation is one of the broadest statements of balance in nature. Phenomena as different as three-dimensional thermodynamic equilibrium and four-dimensional relativistic motion can be described by this equation.
To me, it's a reminder that "mutually-canceling polarities" play a fundamental role both in the physical world as described abstractly by scientists and in the spiritual world as described concretely by mystics.
- The Joy of Mathematics (video lectures from The Teaching Company) by Arthur Benjamin
- The Joy of Mathematics: Discovering Mathematics All around You (book) by Theoni Pappas
- Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Should We Care?) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
- Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife
- Shinzen's Blog
- Phone-based retreats and classes
- Articles, CDs, onsite retreats
- YouTube Talks
- YouTube Interviews