The Bernoulli numbers are the rational numbers $B_n$ defined as the coefficients in the expansion $\frac{x}{e^x-1} = \sum_{n \geq 0} B_n \frac{x^n}{n!}$. They vanish when $n$ is odd and greater than $2$. They appear in the values at integers of the Riemann $\zeta$ function. These classical numbers ...

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Why do Bernoulli numbers arise everywhere?

I have seen Bernoulli numbers many times, and sometimes very surprisingly. They appear in my textbook on complex analysis, in algebraic topology, and of course, number theory. Things like the criteria ...