September 25th, 2014
Episode 399 of 517 episodes
Euler's number, also known as e, was first discovered in the 17th 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. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Colva Roney-Dougal, Reader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews; June Barrow-Green, Senior Lecturer in the History of Maths at the Open University and Vicky Neale, Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford.