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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some important equations

Equals sign, or one equals one: equations.
In the graphic above, there are ten important equations, some apparently simple, some not so simple.


Equal: Agreeing in quantity, size, quality, degree, value, etc.; having the same magnitude, the same value, the same degree, etc. - from Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Project Gutenberg, public domain

The equals sign, which we now take for granted, was first used in 1557, by a Welsh mathematician named Robert Recorde. (See the Wikipedia article on the equals sign.)

Equations used are these: three equations from “simple” arithmetic; Ohm’s law; Einstein’s energy/mass equivalence equation; Euler’s equation; the law of Sines; An equation for compound interest; Slope-intercept formula for a straight line; Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

The largest equation in the graphic, from "simple arithmetic" illustrates one of the main ideas of arithmetic, namely that a thing is equal to itself. Another one uses a zero, which symbol and concept we now take for granted. Zero was invented in India in the 9th century AD. Euler's equation, also known as Euler’s identity, relates perhaps the most important constants of mathematics, e, pi and i, the square root of minus one. There are other ways of representing compound interest, depending on the situation, but the equation used will cover many of them. The law of Sines has been used in astronomy, to measure distances of bodies within the solar system from the earth.

Two of the most important statements in English that use the word equal are:

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (King James version)

and

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - U. S. Declaration of Independence (I know. At the time, all men weren’t considered equal, and women weren’t included. But it was, and is, a great idea.)

Thanks for looking, and, perhaps, thinking. The graphic is a link to a Flickr page, where larger sizes of it should be available.

2 comments:

atlibertytosay said...

The concept of slavery and women's voting rights have been very distorted.

Thankfully they've been clarified through various suffrage movements to appear more equal.

The original intent, and maybe should still be today, is that property owners could and should vote. If you don't have a stake in YOUR personal property then often you will vote to have a piece of someone else's.

Women and slaves often did not own property and were, in a sense, voted for by proxy by those that did.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, atlibertytosay.

I guess you mean "landowners" not property owners. (We own our house, by the way, and there is no debt on it.) There are people who own more personal property than our house is worth, and there are people living in fine houses that owe lots of money on them. Do they qualify as property owners?

An interesting suggestion, and with some serious problems, but it's not going to happen any time soon.

As you know, women and slaves were often legally prevented from getting the just rewards of honest labor. (And still are, in some situations.)