Search Loci: Convergence:
This seems to be one of the many cases in which the admitted accuracy of mathematical processes is allowed to throw a wholly inadmissible appearance of authority over the results obtained by them. Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds your stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends on what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat flour from peascods, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data.
Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 25,1869.
The Enigmatic Number e: A History in Verse and Its Uses in the Mathematics Classroom
About the Author and Acknowledgments
About the Author
Sarah Glaz is Professor and Graduate Director for Instructional Development at the Mathematics Department of the University of Connecticut. She is recipient of the 2004 University of Connecticut AAUP Excellence in Teaching Innovation Award, and became a University of Connecticut Teaching Fellow in 2007. Her research interests lie in the areas of Commutative Algebra and Mathematics Education. Sarah is author and editor of four books and many articles. Her most recent book is the co-edited mathematical poetry anthology, Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics, AK Peters, 2008.
The author thanks Riva Berleant for encouragement with this project and for valuable help with the revision of the poem. The author also thanks the editor, Janet Beery, and the two anonymous referees for suggestions that improved the presentation and content of this article. The author gratefully acknowledges the permission of the MAA for the reproduction of the images of John Napier and Leonhard Euler (Convergence: Mathematicians Portrait Gallery).
Glaz, Sarah, "The Enigmatic Number e: A History in Verse and Its Uses in the Mathematics Classroom," Loci (April 2010), DOI: 10.4169/loci003482