e
25 Sep, 2014
510 Mathematics
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Euler’s number, also known as e. First discovered in the seventeenth century by the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli when he was studying compound interest, e is now recognised as one of the most important and interesting numbers in mathematics. Roughly equal to 2.718, e is useful in studying many everyday situations, from personal savings to epidemics. It also features in Euler’s Identity, sometimes described as the most beautiful equation ever written.
→ Listen on BBC Sounds website
Guests
 Colva RoneyDougal
11 episodes
Reader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews  June BarrowGreen
3 episodes
Senior Lecturer in the History of Maths at the Open University  Vicky Neale
2 episodes
Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford
Reading list

Euler: The Master of Us All
William Dunham (The Mathematical Association of America, 1999) Google Books → 
The Princeton Companion to Mathematics
Tim Gowers, June BarrowGreen and Imre Leader (eds.) (Princeton University Press, 2008) Google Books → 
Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers
Jan Gullberg and Peter Hilton (W W Norton & Co Ltd, 1997) Google Books → 
John Napier: Life, Logarithms and Legacy
Julian Havil (Princeton University Press, 2014) Google Books → 
The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer
Georges Ifrah (John Wiley & Sons, 2000) Google Books → 
e: The Story of a Number
Eli Maor (Princeton University Press, 2009)
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Programme ID: b04hz49f
Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04hz49f
Autocategory: 510.1 (Mathematics)
Hello (First sentence from this episode)
Hello. Centuries ago, when thinkers started to look at the world around them using the language of mathematics, they found that a few very important numbers seemed to underpin everything.