## e: the mystery number

发布时间：2019-03-14 02:08:11来源：未知点击：

By Richard Elwes When it comes to numbers, some are more enigmatic than others. Just ask Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt. In 2004 the company announced it was aiming to raise $2,718,281,828 from the first sale of its shares. While the exactness of the figure left many perplexed, mathematicians nodded knowingly. They recognised the figure as one of the most important numbers in mathematics, the number known as e expressed in billions of dollars. A few months later Google was at it again – this time in the hunt for maths-savvy employees. Giant billboard adverts appeared in Silicon Valley and other intellectual hotspots across the US sporting the cryptic message: “{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com” Finding the first 10-digit prime number buried in e‘s endless stream of figures is no mean feat, not least because the answer, 7427466391, starts at the 101st digit. For those who figured it out, 7427466391.com threw up an even more fiendish mathematical puzzle. Crack it and you were invited to submit your CV to the company’s research laboratory. Google is right to be fascinated by e. From computer science to statistics, this number is everywhere in the mathematical sciences. Along with pi, e has transformed our understanding of the very concept of number. Far from being invented by mathematicians, both numbers exist in their own right and crop up throughout the natural world. We have discovered that the number e plays a key role in describing how populations reproduce and grow,