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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.


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

Vicky Neale
Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Release date:

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43 minutes

Last on

Thu 25 Sep 2014 21:30


Colva Roney-Dougal at the University of St Andrews


June Barrow-Green at the Open University


Vicky Neale at the University of Oxford


The number e


e - Wikipedia





William Dunham, Euler: The Master of Us All (The Mathematical Association of America, 1999)


Tim Gowers, June Barrow-Green and Imre Leader (eds.), The Princeton Companion to Mathematics (Princeton University Press, 2008)


Jan Gullberg and Peter Hilton, Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers (W W Norton & Co Ltd, 1997)


Julian Havil, John Napier: Life, Logarithms and Legacy (Princeton University Press, 2014)


Georges Ifrah, The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer (John Wiley & Sons, 2000)


Eli Maor, e: The Story of a Number (Princeton University Press, 2009)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestColva Roney-Dougal
Interviewed GuestJune Barrow-Green
Interviewed GuestVicky Neale
ProducerThomas Morris

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