If you had to pick a number that you needed to memorize to do math, you would probably pick pi, right? In school, we all had to remember pi to a certain decimal point in order to understand circles. It was notorious to understand its exact value and there was always someone in the class who knew the number far longer than you did.
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Still, we knew that pi was important because it popped up all over: in nature, in math, and even in places where it was unexpected. However, now pi is going to have competition from another number. For some reason, the number 0.577 keeps popping up everywhere too.
This number, known as Euler's constant, is defined as: "the limiting difference between two classic mathematical sequences: the natural logarithm and the harmonic series." A harmonic series is a famous set of numbers that you get if you start adding up numbers like this: 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 +1/4. If you continue to do that until infinity, you have mastered the harmonic series.
The natural logarithm is more complicated than that, but the basic idea is that if you take the difference between the value of the natural logarithm and the harmonic series, you'll end up with 0.577 - and about 100 billion more decimal places.
This is important because it shows that if you start at a point in a circle and keep moving, and the circle keeps growing larger at a rate that is in line with your walking, you actually WILL be able to make it all the way around again. It will take quite some time, but it is possible.
While that is pretty cool, the even neater thing is that this number keeps showing up everywhere, in physics, in chemistry, and it was even used in the equations to find the Higgs boson.
No one knows why this number keeps popping up either, which is the strange part.
To get a deeper understanding of 0.577 and why it is so creepy, look at the video below: