Sure we've all heard of Einstein's e=mc2, but what about Euler's e(to the power of iπ)+1=0? Robert P Crease has an interesting piece on the beauty, and the dark side, of iconic math formulas. A few years ago he held a survey to see his readers' picks for their favorite equations. My favorite, 1+1=2, received a mere half dozen votes. Though not as sexy as other math formulas, it is the most powerful. Not only is our entire understanding of math predicated on this formula, no other idea or concept carries the same kind of universal certainty we attribute to this truth.
* a gallery of Sidney Harris' academic cartoons here