books & arts A Most Elegant Equation: Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics David Stipp BASIC BOOKS: 2017. 240PP. £25.00 If mathematics can delight and exalt “as surely as poetry” as Bertrand Russell famously said, then Euler’s formula can be compared to a Shakespearean sonnet in both its elegance and its importance. David Stipp unveils step by step how Euler came to this formula and clearly explains why it is considered as perhaps the most beautiful among all formulas. In the process, he advocates for the — sometimes hidden — beauty and truth in mathematics. The book also includes Euler’s original derivation. The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide William H. Waller PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS: 2017. 336PP. £14.95 The Milky Way is arguably the galaxy we know best, just because we are allowed a view from within. William H. Waller ﬁrst delves into the historical perception of the Milky Way, from ancient Egypt to modern astronomy, and then moves on to explain the life and death of stars within our Galaxy, the structure of the Milky Way, the origin of the Universe and even how supermassive black holes work. Targeting a scientiﬁcally literate audience, Waller does not shy away from data or technical depictions of concepts such as the proper motion of stars and the cosmological microwave background. Our Cosmic Habitat Martin Rees PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS: 2017. 224PP. £14.95 A bit more than 15 years since the original was written, Rees revisits his work with a new preface that discusses what was expected then versus what we know now. He is clearly disappointed, for example, that the nature of dark matter (let alone dark energy) still stubbornly eludes us. The leaps in our understanding are clear in chapters dealing with fast-paced ﬁelds, like exoplanets. Yet our views about the fundamentals of how our Universe works remain the same. This book gives a wide, if not coarse, overview to the interested reader, who can then venture into more recent literature. Published online: 1 December 2017 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-017-0336-5 NATURE ASTRONOMY | VOL 1 | DECEMBER 2017 | 816 | www.nature.com/natureastronomy © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Nature Astronomy – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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