A Reflection of Euler’s Constant and Its Applications

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One of the most fascinating and remarkable formulas existing in mathematics is the Euler Formula. It was formulated in 1740, constituting the main factor to reason why humankind can advance in science and mathematics. Accordingly, this research will continue investigating the potentiality of the Euler Formula or "the magical number e." The goal of the present study is to further assess the Euler formula and several of its applications such as the compound interest problem, complex numbers, trigonometry, signals (electrical engineering), and Ordinary Differential Equations. To accomplish this goal, the Euler Formula will be entered into the MATLAB software to obtain several plots representing the above applications. The importance of this study in mathematics and engineering will be discussed, and a case study on a polluted lake will be formulated.

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  • 1. 2012 International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies. International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies http://TuEngr.com, http://go.to/Research A Reflection of Euler’s Constant and Its Applications a* a Spyros Andreou and Jonathan Lambright a Department of Engineering Technology and Mathematics, Savannah StateUniversity, Savannah, GA 31404, USAARTICLEINFO ABSTRACTArticle history: One of the most fascinating and remarkable formulasReceived 23 May 2012Received in revised form existing in mathematics is the Euler Formula. It was formulated06 July 2012 in 1740, constituting the main factor to reason why humankind canAccepted 08 July 2012 advance in science and mathematics. Accordingly, this researchAvailable online09 July 2012 will continue investigating the potentiality of the Euler Formula orKeywords: "the magical number e." The goal of the present study is tonumber e, further assess the Euler formula and several of its applications suchapproximation, as the compound interest problem, complex numbers,limit, trigonometry, signals (electrical engineering), and Ordinarycomplex exponential, Differential Equations. To accomplish this goal, the Eulercompound interest. Formula will be entered into the MATLAB software to obtain several plots representing the above applications. The importance of this study in mathematics and engineering will be discussed, and a case study on a polluted lake will be formulated. 2012 International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies.1. Introduction –History  The purpose of this study is to explore the evolution of number e. It starts by introducingthe history of the number, then it gives some series representations of the number along with itscomplex number application, its number approximation and its application to compoundinterest. The number came into mathematics during the 16th century when scientists were*Corresponding author (Spyros S. Andreou). Tel/Fax: +1-(912)358-3276 E-mail address:andreous@savannahstate.edu. 2012. International Transaction Journal of Engineering,Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies: Volume 3 No.4 ISSN 2228-9860 371eISSN 1906-9642. Online Available at http://TuEngr.com/V03/371-380.pdf
  • 2. working on logarithms and the rectangular hyperbola f(x) = 1/x by the Dutch mathematicianChristiaan Huygens [1]. However, it was difficult for the mathematicians at that time tointerpret the area under such curve from 1 to e which is equal to 1. It wasn’t until 1683, [2],when Jacob Bernoulli looked at the problem of compound interest where he tried to find thelimit of (1 + 1/n)n as n goes to infinity. He used the Binomial theorem to show that the limit hadto lie between 2 and 3 so this is the first approximation for the number e. It took a while forfurther development of the number e due to the fact that mathematicians thought of thelogarithm as a number instead of a function. Euler is credited for using the notation e in 1731 forthe first time and historians say that he did not use it because his name starts with the letter e oreven to mean ‘exponential’. The historians [3] say that the letter e is the next vowel after ‘a’which Euler was using already in his work. Euler demonstrated that 1 ! ! ! , and using 20 such terms this is equal to 2.718281828459045235. Moreover the ! !limit mentioned above for the compound interest is indeed e. Later Euler was the first to provethe number e is an irrational number and until today mathematicians cannot prove the nature ofthe number . After Euler approximated the number e to 18 decimals, other people followedand approximated it with more decimals such as Williams Shanks with 205 in 1871 and withtoday’s computers the decimals reached 100 billion in 2007 [4]. It is worth mentioning itsfunction f(x) = ex in calculus is studied comprehensively by mathematicians and scientists.The main result is that its derivative is equal to itself; that is, df(x)/dx = ex. Furthermore, theexponential function ex along with the complex exponential eix (in phasor theorem) are studied.A proof of the approximation of the number e is given. Next, a very important application isintroduced in engineering by adding several sinusoids of the same frequency using the complexexponential. It was done mathematically as well as utilizing the MATLAB software. Anexcellent reference regarding MATLAB is provided in [5]. Finally, an application in CivilEngineering involving a solution of a first-order differential equation is presented.2. Representing e Along with Complex Number Equation  The following series expressions are equal to the number e [6] 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 , , , , 2 1 ! 2 ! 2 ! 2 ! 2 1 ! 372 Spyros Andreou, and Jonathan Lambright
  • 3. and indeed many others can be found in the literature. The special case of the Euler formula with x = π gives a beautiful formula eiπ + 1 = 0 an equation involvingthe fundamental numbers i, pi, e, 1, and 0 and involving the fundamental operations of equality,addition, multiplication and exponentiation.3. Approximating the Number e  In this work, a proof of a numerical estimate [7], for e from its numerical representation of xthe natural logarithm function given by ln( x) = ∫ (1 / t )dt for x > 0 is presented. Let n be a 1 1+1 / npositive integer so that ln(1 + 1 / n) = ∫ (1 / t )dt . 1 Next is to show the following three stepswhich are: Step 1: 1/(n+1) ≤ ln (1 + 1/n) ≤ 1/n 1+1 / n To demonstrate this, first is to show that ln (1 + 1/n) ≤ 1/n. So, ln(1 + 1 / n) = ∫ (1 / t )dt 1 ≤1+1 / n ∫1dt = 1 / n 1 since (1/t) ≤ 1 throughout the interval of integration. Now, 1+1 / n 1+1 / n ln(1 + 1 / n) = ∫ (1 / t )dt ≥ ∫ dt /(1 + 1 / n) = [1 /(1 + 1 / n)]1 / n = 1 /(n + 1) since 1/t ≥ 1/(1+1/n) 1 1throughout the interval of integration. Step 2: (1 + 1/n)n ≤ e ≤ (1 + 1/n)n+1. This result is an elegant approximation of e but not avery efficient tool for evaluating e. To prove this, from step 1, it can be obtained that (1 + 1 / n) ≤ e1 / n ⇒ (1 + 1 / n ) ≤ e and e1 /( n +1) ≤ 1 + 1 / n ⇒ e ≤ (1 + 1 / n) n +1 . n Combiningthese two inequalities, we have (1 + 1/n)n ≤ e ≤ (1 + 1/n)n+1 Step 3: Using step 2 some evaluations for e are given for n = 1,000, n = 10,000, n =100,000, n = 1,000,000, n = 10,000,000 and higher using the software MATLAB. The resultsare as follows: For n = 1,000, (1+ 1/1,000)1,000 = 2.716923932235594,*Corresponding author (Spyros S. Andreou). Tel/Fax: +1-(912)358-3276 E-mail address:andreous@savannahstate.edu. 2012. International Transaction Journal of Engineering,Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies: Volume 3 No.4 ISSN 2228-9860 373eISSN 1906-9642. Online Available at http://TuEngr.com/V03/371-380.pdf
  • 4. (1+ 1/1,000)1,001 = 2.719640856167829. For n = 10,000, (1 + 1/10,000)10,000 = 2.718145926824926, (1+ 1/10,000)10,001 = 2.718417741417608. For n = 100,000, (1 + 1/100,000)100,000 = 2.718268237192298, (1+ 1/100,000)100,001 = 2.718295419874670. For n=1,000,000, (1+ 1/1,000,000)1,000,000 = 2.718280469095753, (1+ 1/1,000,000)1,000,001 = 2.718283187376222. Finally for n = 10,000,000, (1+ 1/10,000,000)10,000,000 = 2.718281694132082, (1+ 1/10,000,000)10,000,001 = 2.718281965960251. Based on the above results it can be conjectured that (1 + 1/x)x → e as x → ∞. So, theproof is as follows [8]: Let 1 lim 1 2 Taking the natural logarithms on both sides, it can be obtained (3) At this point the form of the limit would be 0/0 and it is an indeterminate form. However,the LHôpitals Rule can be employed to attempt to find the limit by taking the derivative of the 374 Spyros Andreou, and Jonathan Lambright
  • 5. numerator and denominator and finding the limit of that ratio. Proceeding, in that manner itcan be obtained that (4) Thus, it can be observed that ln(y) = 1. This implies y = e (by definitions of logarithms).Since it was let y = the original limit expression, then (5) This completes the proof. Now plotting the above function using the following MATLAB code shown in figure 1, thegraph of the function is obtained. >> x = 0:0.001:50; >> y = (1 + 1./x).^x; >> plot(x,y) >> xlabel(x) >> ylabel(y) >> title(Graph of function (1 + 1/x)^x) Figure 1: MATLAB code to plot 1 1/ . From the plot (Figure 2), it can be seen that the function converges between 2.6 and 2.8 andthe middle. So, the initial approximation is confirmed by the software. Comparing2.718281828459045 with the obtained results, it can be observed that the achieved accuracy of*Corresponding author (Spyros S. Andreou). Tel/Fax: +1-(912)358-3276 E-mail address:andreous@savannahstate.edu. 2012. International Transaction Journal of Engineering,Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies: Volume 3 No.4 ISSN 2228-9860 375eISSN 1906-9642. Online Available at http://TuEngr.com/V03/371-380.pdf
  • 6. five decimals is 2.71828. Figure 2: The exponential function as plotted in MATLAB.4. Application 1 ­ The Compound­interest Problem  Jacob Bernoulli was working on the problem of compound interest and discovered thenumber e. For example, if an account is started with $1.00 that pays 100% interest per yearhow much would it earn if it is compounded annually, semiannually, quarterly, monthly,weekly, daily, hourly or even every second. Simple MATLAB calculations reveal that theinterest earned daily, hourly and secondly is not much different indicating convergence tonumber e. The calculations are as follows: Let the account start with $1 with 100% interest per year. a) simple interest yields 1*(1 + 1)^1 = $2.00 where 100% = 1 $2.00 b) compounded semiannually yields 1*(1 + 1/2)^2 = $2.25 $2.25 c) compounded quarterly yields 1*(1 + 1/4)^4 = $2.44140625 $2.44 d) compounded monthly yields 1*(1 + 1/12)^12 = $2.613035290224676 $2.61 e) compounded weekly yields 1*(1 + 1/52)^52 = $2.692596954437168 $2.69 f) compounded daily yields 1*(1 + 1/365)^365 = $2.714567482021973 $2.71 g) compounded hourly yields 1*(1+1/(365*24))^ (365 *24) = $2.718126691617908 $2.72 h) compounded every second yields 1*(1 + 1/(365 *24*60)) ^(365*24*60) = $2.718279242666355 $2.72 376 Spyros Andreou, and Jonathan Lambright
  • 7. So, if the amount of $10,000.00 is deposited with 100% interest rate the maximum amountthat can be earned is $27,182.79 but the banks stop at daily so the amount that can be earned is$27,145.67. However, typically the bank gives daily interest at 3% today (too high in 2012).So, the interest you receive to $1.00 is 1*(1 + 0.03/365)^365 = $1.030453263600551 where 3%= 0.03. So, if the amount of $10,000.00 is deposited, the principal becomes $10,304.53 at theend of the year compared to $10,300.00 with simple interest.5. Application 2 – Addition of Signals Using the Phasor Theorem  Many applications in engineering require adding two or more signals with the samefrequency but with different amplitudes and time shifts (phases). The Phasor Theorem [9] isused in this situation. A phasor representation of a signal is X k = Ak e iθ k where A is amplitudeand θ is the phase (angle). The phase angle can be obtained from the time shift using theformula θ = -2π(tm/T). Let the two signals be x1(t) = A1cos((2π/T)(t – tm1)) and x2(t) =A2cos((2π/T)(t – tm2)) where T is their period and tm1 and tm2 are their time shifts. So, their sumwill be x3(t) = x1(t) + x2(t) with the same T and different time shift tm3. The MATLAB codeshown in Figure 3 is adding the two signals, x1(t) and x2(t). The graphs of the signals x1(t) andx2(t) along with their sum x3(t) are illustrated in Figure 4. A1=24;%magnitude of the first signal A2=1.2*A1;%magnitude of the second signal T=1/6000;%period of both signals time=[-T:T/50:T]; tm1=37.2*T;%time shifts tm1 and tm2 tm2=(41.3/12)*T; x1t=A1*cos(2*pi*(1/T)*(time - tm1)); %first signal x2t=A2*cos(2*pi*(1/T)*(time - tm2));%second signal subplot(3,1,1) plot(time,x1t), xlabel(time in seconds), ylabel(signal x1t), title(Graph of signal x1t) subplot(3,1,2) plot(time, x2t),xlabel(time in seconds),ylabel(signal x2t), title(Graph of signal x2t) %now we would like to add them x3t=x1t+x2t; %This addition is done by hand using the complex exponential e^(jt) subplot(3,1,3) plot(time,x3t), xlabel (time in seconds), ylabel(signal x3t), title(Graph of signal x3t=x1t+x2t) Figure 3: MATLAB code to add two signals.*Corresponding author (Spyros S. Andreou). Tel/Fax: +1-(912)358-3276 E-mail address:andreous@savannahstate.edu. 2012. International Transaction Journal of Engineering,Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies: Volume 3 No.4 ISSN 2228-9860 377eISSN 1906-9642. Online Available at http://TuEngr.com/V03/371-380.pdf
  • 8. Figure 4: Signals x1(t), x2(t) and their sum x3(t).6. First­Order  Differential  Equation  Case  Study  in  Environmental  Engineering  Suppose that a polluted lake (see more details in [10]) has an initial concentration ofbacteria of 107parts/m3, whereas the acceptable level is only 5x106 parts/m3. When fresh waterenters the lake the concentration of the bacteria will decrease. Let C be the concentration ofthe pollutant as a function of time (in weeks). The differential equation is given by dC(t)/dt +0.06C(t) = 0, C(0) = 107. The question is to find the concentration of the pollutant after 7 weeks. In order to solve the differential equation, concentration C and time t are separated andintegrated. After some algebra, the exact solution is C(t) = 107e(-0.06t). Substituting t = 7 weeksit can be obtained that C(7) = 6.5705x106 parts/m3. It can be observed that the solutioninvolves the exponential function ex and after 7 weeks the concentration of the pollutant is morethan the acceptable level. Calculations show that it takes about 11.5 weeks for the lake toreach the acceptable level of pollutants. 378 Spyros Andreou, and Jonathan Lambright
  • 9. 7. Conclusion  The two irrational numbers e and π are so important in mathematics, sciences andengineering where most people knowing the latter. So, in this work the number e (more aboutthis in [11]) and its function ex are explored. The limit of the function f(x) = (1 + 1/x)x as x → ∞involving a lot of knowledge in mathematics is revisited and found to be the number e. Itsmain application to compound interest is investigated. Compound interest is in people’severy- day life and the authors of this paper had this in mind. This number has significantapplications in calculus where its function ex plays a significant role and it is studied verythoroughly and carefully by the mathematicians. The importance of the exponential functionis demonstrated in the second application using the phasor theorem to add two signals.Finally, a solution of a first – order differential equation is presented where it is alwaysexponential. There are many further studies for undergraduates to get involved; for example,Linear Algebra and systems of differential equations (matrix exponential function).8. Acknowledgement  The authors would like to thank the coordinator, Chellu S. Chetty, of the two NSF grants,PSLSAMP and HBCU-UP supporting this work.9. References [1] O’ Connor J. J. and Robertson E. F. (2001). The number e. Retrieved June 10, 2010 from http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/e.html[2] Coolidge, J. L. (1950). The number e, Amer. Math. Monthly 57, 591 – 602.[3] Stillwell, J. (2002). Mathematics and Its History. Springer.[4] Mathematical constant. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_(mathematical_constant)[5] Palm III, W. J. (2008). A Concise Introduction to MATLAB, 1st Ed., McGraw- Hill.[6] Sondow, J. & Weisstein, E. W, “e”. (n.d.), retrieved June, 20 2010 from http://mathworld.wolfram.com/e.html[7] Salas, Hille, Etgen, (2007). One and Several Variables- Calculus, 10th edition, John Wiley & Sons.[8] Whitney M. C. (2003). A Definition of the Number e. Retrieved June 20, 2010 from*Corresponding author (Spyros S. Andreou). Tel/Fax: +1-(912)358-3276 E-mail address:andreous@savannahstate.edu. 2012. International Transaction Journal of Engineering,Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies: Volume 3 No.4 ISSN 2228-9860 379eISSN 1906-9642. Online Available at http://TuEngr.com/V03/371-380.pdf
  • 10. http://users.rcn.com/mwhitney.massed/defn_of_e/defn_of_e.html.[9] McClellan J. H., R. W. Schafer, and M. A. Yoder. (2003). Signal Processing First, 1st Ed., Pearson Prentice Hall.[10] Numerical Methods. (n.d.), Retrieved June, 20, 2010 from http://numericalmethods.eng.usf.edu/strippedfiles/mws/civ/08ode/mws_civ_ode_txt_e uler_Examples.pdf.[11] Andreou S., Lambright J., Lewis B. (2011), Exploring the Number e, Hawaii University International Conferences on Mathematics and Engineering, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 13-15. Dr.Spyros Andreou received the B.S. degree and M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arizona, the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering (control systems) and the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Andreou got his first academic job at New Mexico Highlands University as a Visiting Assistant Professor. In January 2003, Dr.Andreou joined Georgia Southern University as an Assistant Professor where he taught various engineering courses and worked in Matrix Difference Systems. In August 2006 joined the faculty at Savannah State University where he currently teaches Regents Engineering Transfer Program courses and involved in engineering education research via NSF grants. He is currently an Associate Professor within the Department of Engineering Technology & Mathematics at Savannah State University, Registered as a Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of New Mexico, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (SMIEEE) and a Member of the Institution of Engineering Technology (MIET) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) in the United Kingdom. Dr.Jonathan Lambright received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the North Carolina A&T State University and after working for 3 years as a Mechanical Engineer at the Department of Defense, Dr. Lambright returned to graduate school at North Carolina A & T and received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1990 with a focus in Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing. While at Georgia Tech Jonathan focused his studies and research on design methodology and manufacturing automation. During the period between 1992 and 1996 Jonathan worked for the Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Co. in Marietta GA. At Lockheed he worked on various research and development projects within the Advanced Design department. The research projects at Lockheed consisted of Computer Assisted Manufacturing Tools, Design Tools using Knowledge Based Systems and Advance Database applications and he earned his Ph.D. He is currently an Associate Professor within the Department of Engineering Technology & Mathematics at Savannah State University.Peer Review: This article has been internationally peer-reviewed and accepted for publication according to the guidelines given at the journal’s website. 380 Spyros Andreou, and Jonathan Lambright
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