**Book Description:**

Among the myriad of constants that appear in mathematics,*p*,*e*, and*i*are the most familiar. Following closely behind is*g*, or gamma, a constant that arises in many mathematical areas yet maintains a profound sense of mystery.

In a tantalizing blend of history and mathematics, Julian Havil takes the reader on a journey through logarithms and the harmonic series, the two defining elements of gamma, toward the first account of gamma's place in mathematics.

Introduced by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707-1783), who figures prominently in this book, gamma is defined as the limit of the sum of 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + . . . up to 1/*n*, minus the natural logarithm of*n*--the numerical value being 0.5772156. . .. But unlike its more celebrated colleagues*p*and*e*, the exact nature of gamma remains a mystery--we don't even know if gamma can be expressed as a fraction.

Among the numerous topics that arise during this historical odyssey into fundamental mathematical ideas are the Prime Number Theorem and the most important open problem in mathematics today--the Riemann Hypothesis (though no proof of either is offered!).

Sure to be popular with not only students and instructors but all math aficionados,*Gamma*takes us through countries, centuries, lives, and works, unfolding along the way the stories of some remarkable mathematics from some remarkable mathematicians.

**eISBN:**978-1-4008-3253-8

**Subjects:**Mathematics