List of representations of e

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The mathematical constant e can be represented in a variety of ways as a real number. Since e is an irrational number (see proof that e is irrational), it cannot be represented as the quotient of two integers, but it can be represented as a continued fraction. Using calculus, e may also be represented as an infinite series, infinite product, or other types of limit of a sequence.

As a continued fraction[edit]

Euler proved that the number e is represented as the infinite simple continued fraction[1] (sequence A003417 in the OEIS):

Its convergence can be tripled[clarification needed][citation needed] by allowing just one fractional number:

Here are some infinite generalized continued fraction expansions of e. The second is generated from the first by a simple equivalence transformation.

This last, equivalent to [1; 0.5, 12, 5, 28, 9, ...], is a special case of a general formula for the exponential function:

As an infinite series[edit]

The number e can be expressed as the sum of the following infinite series:

for any real number x.

In the special case where x = 1 or −1, we have:

,[2] and

Other series include the following:

where is the nth Bell number.
where is the th Lucas number.

Consideration of how to put upper bounds on e leads to this descending series:

which gives at least one correct (or rounded up) digit per term. That is, if 1 ≤ n, then

More generally, if x is not in {2, 3, 4, 5, ...}, then

As an infinite product[edit]

The number e is also given by several infinite product forms including Pippenger's product

and Guillera's product [4][5]

where the nth factor is the nth root of the product

as well as the infinite product

More generally, if 1 < B < e2 (which includes B = 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7), then

As the limit of a sequence[edit]

The number e is equal to the limit of several infinite sequences:

(both by Stirling's formula).

The symmetric limit,[6]

may be obtained by manipulation of the basic limit definition of e.

The next two definitions are direct corollaries of the prime number theorem[7]

where is the nth prime and is the primorial of the nth prime.

where is the prime-counting function.


In the special case that , the result is the famous statement:

The ratio of the factorial , that counts all permutations of an ordered set S with cardinality , and the derangement function , which counts the amount of permutations where no element appears in its original position, tends to as grows.

In trigonometry[edit]

Trigonometrically, e can be written in terms of the sum of two hyperbolic functions,

at x = 1.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sandifer, Ed (Feb 2006). "How Euler Did It: Who proved e is Irrational?" (PDF). MAA Online. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  2. ^ Brown, Stan (2006-08-27). "It's the Law Too — the Laws of Logarithms". Oak Road Systems. Archived from the original on 2008-08-13. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  3. ^ Formulas 2–7: H. J. Brothers, Improving the convergence of Newton's series approximation for e, The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1, (2004), pp. 34–39.
  4. ^ J. Sondow, A faster product for pi and a new integral for ln pi/2, Amer. Math. Monthly 112 (2005) 729–734.
  5. ^ J. Guillera and J. Sondow, Double integrals and infinite products for some classical constants via analytic continuations of Lerch's transcendent, Ramanujan Journal 16 (2008), 247–270.
  6. ^ H. J. Brothers and J. A. Knox, New closed-form approximations to the Logarithmic Constant e, The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 20, No. 4, (1998), pp. 25–29.
  7. ^ S. M. Ruiz 1997