We show that there is a link between a standard calculus problem of finding the best view of a painting and special tangent lines to the graphs of exponential functions. Surprisingly, the exponential function with the "best view" is not the one with the base e. A similar link is established for families of functions obtained by composing exponential functions with a fixed linear function. The key tool in the proof is the Lambert W function.
The College Mathematics Journal
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Ćurgus, Branko, "An Exceptional Exponential Function" (2006). Mathematics. Paper 69.