On the way to the camporee Friday, I spotted this vanity plate:


equals zero

I figured it out immediately to my utter delight. I had Jonathan take the picture, as I was driving Ken’s truck at the time (with a trailer in tow).

So just what is EIPI+1? Well, it’s a mathematical identity discovered by Leonhard Euler a long time ago. E is the number “e”, but vanity plates don’t allow lower case. I is the square root of negative one (also represented in lower case). PI is π, with which most people are probably familiar. What’s missing cannot be represented on a license plate, and that is that i and π should be multiplied together, and used as an exponent of e:

The beauty of this equation is that it takes the five fundamental constants of mathematics: e, i, π, 1, and 0, and relates them using the three fundamental operators: addition, multiplication, and exponentiation. It is utterly cool to a nerd like me.

I wanted to pull the driver over some how and shout “Equals zero!” but… I was able to restrain myself.

I’ll post more about our campout later – tonight if I have energy (which seems unlikely), or tomorrow otherwise.