Mathematical beauty: three different lists

Something that is quite curious to me is how and why people construct lists of the ‘most beautiful’ theorems or equations or pieces of mathematics. I don’t know, maybe it is quite natural to have a sort of ranking, or favorite lists, but I’ve always wondered, when I see such a list, if there is agreement about what is on the list, and whether the examples chosen are really chosen because they are beautiful or because they are nice and/or well known and/or accessible, or some other feature that makes them stand out or produce pleasure.

In any case, I will list some such lists, one of which comes in lecture form from the famous Enrico Bombieri, and you can decide what you think!

1.  Lecture by Enrico Bombieri

Beauty in Mathematics | Video Lectures.

2. Wells’ list polled from Mathematical Intelligencer readers

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF03024015

(the list is reproduced here if you do not have access to the article):

http://planetmath.org/Top10MostBeautifulTheorems.html

Wells, D. 1990. Are these the most beautiful? Mathematical Intelligencer 12(No. 3):37-41.

3. Another list, from LiveScience

http://www.livescience.com/26680-greatest-mathematical-equations.html

About manyapajama

Associate Professor in Mathematics Education, and part-time poet.
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One Response to Mathematical beauty: three different lists

  1. aristogeit says:

    “3. Another list, from LiveScience

    http://www.livescience.com/26680-greatest-mathematical-equations.html

    these ae of course not the most beautiful

    the first one can even be called ugly but since its einstein its put there

    and when i see phrases like “the equations that describe our universe” i cringe an close the page

    what universe do you know what the word means??

    of course the physicists are the politicians of the game

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