This is a heuristic question that I think was once asked by Serge Lang. The gaussian: $e^{-x^2}$ appears as the fixed point to the Fourier Transformtransform, in the punchline to the central limit theorem, as the solution to the heat equation, in a very nice proof of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem etc. Is this an artifact of the techniques (such as the Fourier Transform) that people like use to deal with certain problems or is this the tip of some deeper platonic iceberg?
This is a heuristic question that I think was once asked by Serge Lang. The gaussian: $e^{-x^2}$ appears as the fixed point to the Fourier Transform, the punchline to the central limit theorem, as the solution to the heat equation, in a very nice proof of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem etc. Is this an artifact of the techniques (such as the Fourier Transform) that people like use to deal with certain problems or is this the tip of some deeper platonic iceberg?