Sunday, October 29, 2006
In this latest installation piece, Euler's equation is the centerpiece in raised gold letters on a textured charcoal background, with metal wings to give flight.
Euler's equation, once you understand its domain, is immediately as obvious as 1+1=2 is to most people. (in fact it is literally -1+1=0, but that's not as iconic)
e^i*pi represents a half rotation on the unit circle in the complex plane from +1, giving us a purely real (as opposed to imaginary or complex) -1.
I'm a fan of Euler's equation because it brings together five (5) important numbers in mathematics, e, pi, i, 1 and 0. Of course, those aren't all the "important" numbers, but the equation is tight and elegant in its simpicity. e is the base of natural growth, pi is all about circles, i is the "1" of imaginary numbers (i is defined as the square root of -1), 1 is a magic number in mathematics with all sorts of unique properties, and of course, so is 0. If somebody were to make a mathematic rat pack movie, it would star these actors/numbers.
The piece is mounted about eight feet up, in a heavily pedestrianed area. It is small but noticeable from an intersection where cars must stop for a red light.
It is inspired by an observation I have encountered almost unilaterally with others in mathematically related professions. The observation is that, in general, people don't understand mathematics. No matter how much we've come to expect it, it still surprises us.
Mathematics is a language that allows you not only to communicate exacting, fascinating, and useful ideas from one mind to another, but it also works as a tool to allow you to understand more of the language itself! Mathematics is a symbol table that, once you know the basic codec, is self-decrypting! How many other languages can boast that feature?! None! None more languages!
Math will Set You Free!
Burton MacKenZie www.burtonmackenzie.com