# Is the value of "e" too much for a high school graduate to be expected to know?

I don’t even know what “e” is other than the mindboggling Wikipedia page…can someone explain with prose or poetry ,instead of graphs of numbers the five w’s of what “e” is?

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## 8 Answers

I find Wikipedia to be very bad at math and statistics. Definitely not the place for beginners to look. You might find it easier to follow Wolfram Alpha‘s explanation of natural logarithms (which is the context for understanding what e is).

Also… e is never capitalized. :)

No, it’s not at all expected for a high school graduate to know about *e*. It’s really only touched upon in higher math classes, not in those taken by most high graduates. I would not expect most liberal arts majors in college to know what *e* is. I haven’t dealt with it in over 35 years.

In Holland, that would depend on the level of High School you go thru.

In the higher levels, one would have to know what it is, but not necessarily be at level of full control and understanding.

I actually realized from this question that I had forgotten most I ever knew about e.

I took an Intro-to-Calculus course my senior year in high school and thus entered an upper-level calculus course as a freshman in college, where I did learn the definition of “e.”

Look up the math constant “i” also. i^2 = -1.

It used to be my license plate: “Land of Lincoln – 271828”

I had previously applied for “314159” but instead got “314165,” meaning that five people were ahead of me.

Here is the simplest way I know of explaining what e is. If you earned 100% interest and kept reducing the period for which the interest was compounded to the point that it was instantaneous, the amount of money you would have at the end of the year would be e. Put in terms of an equation, e is the value (1 + 1/n)^n as n goes to infinity. If the interest is i and the compounding period is instantaneous then the amount of money at the end of the year is e^i.

The decimal expansion of e starts out with a nice pattern. e = 2.718281828459045…

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..I don’t know what this is!

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