For Quanta, Pradeep Mutalik explained why e, the transcendental math constant, is just the best:
I still remember my first introduction to e. We were studying common logarithms in school, and I marveled at their ability to turn complicated multiplication problems into simple addition just by representing all numbers as fractional powers of 10. How, I wondered, were fractional and irrational powers calculated? It is, of course, easy to calculate integer powers such as 102 and 103, and in a pinch you could even calculate 102.5 by finding the square root of 105. But how did they figure out, as the log table asserted, that 20 was 101.30103? How could a complete table of logarithms of all numbers be constructed from scratch? I just couldn’t imagine how that could be done.