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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Blaise Pascal Image credit: User:Anarkman |
Blaise Pascal (pronounced [blez pɑskɑl]), (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the construction of mechanical calculators, the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalizing the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote powerfully in defense of the scientific method.
A mathematician of the first order, Pascal helped create two major new areas of research. He wrote a significant treatise on projective geometry at the age of sixteen and corresponded with Pierre de Fermat from 1654 on probability theory, strongly influencing the development of modern economics and social science.
Following a mystical experience in late 1654, he abandoned his scientific work and devoted himself to philosophy and theology. However, he had suffered from ill-health throughout his life and his new interests were ended by his early death two months after his 39th birthday.
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A hypotrochoid is a curve traced out by a point "attached" to a smaller circle rolling around inside a fixed larger circle. In this example, the hypotrochoid is the red curve that is traced out by the red point 5 units from the center of the black circle of radius 3 as it rolls around inside the blue circle of radius 5. A special case is a hypotrochoid with the inner circle exactly one-half the radius of the outer circle, resulting in an ellipse (see an animation showing this). Mathematical analysis of closely-related curves called hypocycloids lead to special Lie groups. Both hypotrochoids and epitrochoids (where the moving circle rolls around on the outside of the fixed circle) can be created using the Spirograph drawing toy. These curves have applications in the "real world" in epicyclic and hypocycloidal gearing, which were used in World War II in the construction of portable radar gear and may be used today in 3D printing.
Did you know…
- ...that it is possible to stack identical dominoes off the edge of a table to create an arbitrarily large overhang?
- ...that in graph theory, a pseudoforest can contain trees and pseudotrees, but cannot contain any butterflies, diamonds, handcuffs, or bicycles?
- ...that it is not possible to configure two mutually inscribed quadrilaterals in the Euclidean plane, but the Möbius–Kantor graph describes a solution in the complex projective plane?
- ...that the six permutations of the vector (1,2,3) form a hexagon in 3D space, the 24 permutations of (1,2,3,4) form a truncated octahedron in four dimensions, and both are examples of permutohedra?
- ...that the Rule 184 cellular automaton can simultaneously model the behavior of cars moving in traffic, the accumulation of particles on a surface, and particle-antiparticle annihilation reactions?
- ...that a cyclic cellular automaton is a system of simple mathematical rules that can generate complex patterns mixing random chaos, blocks of color, and spirals?
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