Portal:Mathematics
The Mathematics Portal
Mathematics is the study of numbers, quantity, space, pattern, structure, and change. Mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields, including natural science, engineering, medicine, and the social sciences. Applied mathematics, the branch of mathematics concerned with application of mathematical knowledge to other fields, inspires and makes use of new mathematical discoveries and sometimes leads to the development of entirely new mathematical disciplines, such as statistics and game theory. Mathematicians also engage in pure mathematics, or mathematics for its own sake, without having any application in mind. There is no clear line separating pure and applied mathematics, and practical applications for what began as pure mathematics are often discovered.
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All of the trigonometric functions of an angle θ can be constructed geometrically in terms of a unit circle centered at O. Image credit: User:Tttrung |
The trigonometric functions are functions of an angle; they are most important when studying triangles and modeling periodic phenomena, among many other applications. They are commonly defined as ratios of two sides of a right triangle containing the angle, and can equivalently be defined as the lengths of various line segments from a unit circle. More modern definitions express them as infinite series or as solutions of certain differential equations, allowing their extension to positive and negative values and even to complex numbers.
The study of trigonometric functions dates back to Babylonian times, and a considerable amount of fundamental work was done by ancient Greek, Indian and Arab mathematicians.
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A Bézier curve is a parametric curve important in computer graphics and related fields. Widely publicized in 1962 by the French engineer Pierre Bézier, who used them to design automobile bodies, the curves were first developed in 1959 by Paul de Casteljau using de Casteljau's algorithm. In this animation, a quartic Bézier curve is constructed using control points P_{0} through P_{4}. The green line segments join points moving at a constant rate from one control point to the next; the parameter t shows the progress over time. Meanwhile, the blue line segments join points moving in a similar manner along the green segments, and the magenta line segment points along the blue segments. Finally, the black point moves at a constant rate along the magenta line segment, tracing out the final curve in red. The curve is a fourth-degree function of its parameter. Quadratic and cubic Bézier curves are most common since higher-degree curves are more computationally costly to evaluate. When more complex shapes are needed, lower-order Bézier curves are patched together. For example, modern computer fonts use Bézier splines composed of quadratic or cubic Bézier curves to create scalable typefaces. The curves are also used in computer animation and video games to plot smooth paths of motion. Approximate Bézier curves can be generated in the "real world" using string art.
Did you know…
- ...that it is impossible to devise a single formula involving only polynomials and radicals for solving an arbitrary quintic equation?
- ...that you cannot knot strings in 4-dimensions? You can, however, knot 2-dimensional surfaces like spheres.
- ...that there are 6 unsolved mathematics problems whose solutions will earn you one million US dollars each?
- ...that there are different sizes of infinite sets in set theory? More precisely, not all infinite cardinal numbers are equal?
- ...that every natural number can be written as the sum of four squares?
- ...that the largest known prime number is nearly 25 million digits long?
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