Seventeen Equations That Changed the World

Believe it or not, mathematics is all around us, and it has shaped our understanding of the world in countless ways. From Newton’s Law of Gravity to the Black-Scholes model used by bankers to predict the markets, equations are everywhere – and they are fundamental to everyday life.

In his book, Seventeen Equations that Changed the World, Ian Stewart examines seventeen ground-breaking equations that have altered the course of human history. 

He explores how Pythagoras’s Theorem led to GPS, how logarithms are applied in architecture, why imaginary numbers were essential in developing the digital camera, how the Navier-Stokes equation applies to modeling climate change, and what is going on with Schrödinger’s cat.

In his book, Ian Stewart says:

The power of equations lies in the philosophically difficult correspondence between mathematics, a collective creation of human minds, and external physical reality. Equations model deep patterns in the outside world. By learning to value equations and to read the stories they tell, we can uncover vital features of the world around us… This is the story of the ascent of humanity, told in 17 equations.

Here is a little bit more about these wonderful seventeen equations that have shaped mathematics and human history.

Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.