Physics and mathematics periodicals frequently hold polls for readers to vote on the equation they most admire. The results seem to hold fairly stable from poll to poll. Here are some excerpts about these results:
New York Times
By Kenneth Chang
Published: October 24, 2004
What Makes an Equation Beautiful
“Some were nominated for the sheer beauty of their simplicity, some for the breadth of knowledge they capture, others for historical importance.
“The top vote-getters in the magazine poll were Maxwell's equations - a set of four that describe the interplay between electric and magnetic fields - and Euler's equation, a purely mathematical construct that finds wide use in theoretical physics" ["in a dead heat" the poll said].
"Among the other nominees were the all-familiar E=mc2 from Einstein, which equates energy and matter; the Pythagorean theorem; and Isaac Newton's F=ma.
“Dr. Brian Greene, a theorist at Columbia University and author of ‘The Elegant Universe,’ cites Einstein's general relativity equations, which describe how matter warps the fabric of space, and the Schrödinger equation, the fundamental equation of quantum mechanics.
"’With a mere handful of symbols, those equations describe almost all phenomena in the universe,’ he said.
“Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, said he was disappointed that E=mc2 did not receive more votes. ‘I think the general physics community, they're a little bored with the equation,’ he said.
“A half-dozen of Dr. Crease's respondents, including Richard Harrison of Calgary, Alberta, chose one of the simplest possible equations:
“Mr. Harrison wrote: ' '1 + 1 = 2' is the fairy tale of mathematics. . .’ ”
by Emanuel Handmann 1756?