Five Equations that Changed the World (a brief review)

The Power and Poetry of Mathematics — Michael Guillen
Five Equations that Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics — Michael Guillen

I loved this book!

In about 50 pages per story, Dr. Michael Guillen narrates the circumstances surrounding the discovery of five important scientific equations, along with an understandable explanation of each.

The 5 equations that made the cut are:

  1. Universal Law of Gravity (Isaac Newton)
  2. Law of Hydrodynamic Pressure (Daniel Bernoulli)
  3. Law of Electromagnetic Induction (Michael Faraday)
  4. Second Law of Thermodynamics (Rudolf Clausius)
  5. Theory of Special Relativity (Albert Einstein)

Guillen clarifies in his introduction what he means by the “poetry of mathematics”:

“In the language of mathematics, equations are like poetry: They state truths with a unique precision, convey volumes of information in rather brief terms, and often are difficult for the uninitiated to comprehend.”

Again,

“It is impossible to understand the true meaning of an equation, or to appreciate its beauty, unless it is read in the delightfully quirky language in which it was penned. That is precisely why I have written this book.”

Dr. Guillen did an exceptional job of helping me decipher and appreciate the beauty of these five otherwise daunting equations.

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