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Supposedly discovered by Leonard Euler in the 18th century, the equation e+1=0 is considered to be the greatest equation in mathematics. Why? Because it links the five best known constants in mathematics:

  • e is the base of natural logarithms
  • i is the square root of -1
  • π is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter
  • 0 is the additive identity
  • 1 is unity and the multiplicative identity
Conveniently, different authors have written full books about each of these numbers--except for 1--filled with their histories, multiple uses, and associated trivia. The books are as follows:
So, my final question: Who is going to write the book about 1? Nonetheless, a video The Story of 1 is available!

NOTE: This year, I will occasionally be reprinting columns from the MathNEXUS Archives, trying to entice you explore it's treasures. This week's offering is from the year 2006.