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
2. Wells’ list polled from Mathematical Intelligencer readers
(the list is reproduced here if you do not have access to the article):
Wells, D. 1990. Are these the most beautiful? Mathematical Intelligencer 12(No. 3):37-41.
3. Another list, from LiveScience