Few academic subjects evoke as polarised reactions as ‘Mathematics’ does.
It is a dreary chore for most, an inescapable rite of passage that they have to endure during their growing years. Many others relish it with aplomb, finding the subject as gripping as a suspense novel or as intriguing as life itself.
But it takes someone like Professor Ian Stewart to bridge this divide by unraveling the mysteries of a complex subject and presenting them in simplified English before millions of readers who are more excited by the recipe of a pie, than the value of Pi.
If his attire (in the picture above) reminds you of Steven Spielberg’s iconic character Indiana Jones, it’s probably no strange coincidence. If the fictional Dr Jones is a University professor and as the industry magazine Archaeology described him, a 'great diplomat for archaeology', so is Professor Stewart for Mathematics.
With more than 80 books to his credit, Professor Stewart has popularized the subject like few others. His books on Mathematics have consistently made it to the ‘bestsellers’ lists; his creations even include three comic books on the subject.
The Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick is currently in the news for his latest book ‘17 Equations that Changed the World’. "Equations are the lifeblood of mathematics, science, and technology. Without them, our world would not exist in its present form," Stewart says.
According to Prof. Stewart, the following 17 equations have changed the world: Pythagoras's Theorem, Logarithms, Calculus, Newton's Law of Gravity, The Square Root of Minus One, Euler's formula for Polyhedra, Normal Distribution, Wave Equation, Fourier Transform, Navier-Stokes Equation, Maxwell's Equations, Second Law of Thermodynamics, Relativity, Schrödinger equation, Information Theory, Chaos Theory and Black Scholes Equation.
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