Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

Home Romantic Mathematics Fractals Gallery Questions Poems Links Guestbook Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Functions and equationsBack to Top
The following functions and equations are in mathematics known under the term cardioid. They got this name because they all have a particular shape, which makes it possible to recognise them very easily. There are mathematicians who studied these mathematical structures. I will present a few of their results to show that mathematics can be much more than a dry and boring subject. Mathematics can even be the most romantic thing on earth.

Functions and their graphs
Functions are a very common thing in mathematics. They are a very accurate way to describe the behaviour of various things. Now it is also possible to make graphical representations of functions. Functions with one variable are rather easy to draw. You insert a value in the function and look what results comes out. This gives you the coordinates of a point in a plane. All you need to do is to repeat this with as many points as possible. Sometimes you might even find very surprising results... As you will notice with the following functions. Notice that the graphs are always composed of two functions, where one function usually represents the lower part and the other the top part.

1 of 8

4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

2 of 8

4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

So did I promise too much? Would would have believed that behind simple functions could be hidden a message which cannot be misinterpreted. Maybe that's what makes mathematics so beautiful. On the one side you have those cryptic formulae which seem to behold a million unknown mysteries and once you start looking at these formulae, they reveal step by step parts of the secrets, keeping the suspense continuously at a very high level. It can take very long to find out every secret of a formula. But once you have achieved your goal, it gives you a feeling of happiness and self-confidence which can't be found anywhere else.

Implicit equations
Implicit equations are relations between two variables. If you insert a value for one variable, you can calculate the value of the other. So the difference to functions is that you don't get the value of the second variable immediately. You first have to calculate it. However implicit equations are still linked very strong to the functions. Actually there is a theorem that says that for every implicit equations, there's an function which describes exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, the theorem just says that this function exists. It doesn't tell us what it looks like or how we could find it. Most of the time it is even so difficult that there's no way to find the corresponding function. If you look at the second function and at the first implicit equation, you will notice that they have identical graphical representations. The reason for this is that the one is the corresponding function of the implicit equation. This was one example where it was more or less easy to find it. Here are a few examples of
3 of 8 4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

implicit equations and their graphical representations.

The following equation has beside its variables x and y two other parameters p and q. You can actually give any value to these parameters you want. They are completely independent from x and y. The top graph was drawn with p=1 and q=0.5, the lower one with p=0.5 and q=0.5.

4 of 8

4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

So even here we found examples of very interesting equations with strong messages hidden deep at the inner of the equations. Who would have believed that a simple equation could have given such an interesting result? As I already said, mathematics are full of wonderful mysteries, waiting for somebody to discover them. You don't need much to go on an exploration through the world of mathematics. Patience and curiosity should be enough. Patience for being able to wait until the a structure reveals its secrets and curiosity for never giving up searching or asking. The question "What would happen if...?" is fundamental in mathematics. It should never been left unanswered.

Functions with polar coordinates
Until now we always had coordinates which told us the distances to their respective axes. This is a very easy and common method to give every point in a plane a unique coordinate. But their are other ways. What if considered only 1 axis and a fixed point on that axis? The most logical idea would be to take the (0,0) point as fixed point and the x-axis as our only axis. (But this doesn't mean it wouldn't work with any other axis or point too, I'm just following the usual mathematical usage) Now to give every point in the plane a unique coordinate, we will consider the distance to our fixed point as one coordinate and the angle formed between our axis and a line going through the fixed point and the point we are looking at as a second coordinate. This way to represent points in a plane is called polar coordinates. They are a very common tool to represent easily things which describe more or less circular trajectories. The following formula is plotted in polar coordinates the way I described above. x represents the distance to the fixed point and y the angle. Note that it is also an implicit equation.

5 of 8

4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

Equations in 3 Dimensional SpaceBack to Top
I would certainly be a challenge to every painter to draw a 3 dimensional heart by hand. In my eyes it's even a greater challenge to find a formula which precisely represents a heart in 3d. There are two implicit equations which do exactly this and their graphs are of an amazing beauty. The two formulae do represent almost the same figures. If you plotted both formulae, you couldn't hardly see any difference. That's why there's only one graph. The formulae are both implicit equations with 3 variables, which makes it rather difficult to draw a graphical representation. This graphical representation was done by fixing one variable and drawing the corresponding "slice". Afterwards I changed the value and drew another slice. By doing this in 2 different directions, you can get the following picture.

FractalsBack to Top
6 of 8 4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

The last example is probably the most complicated one, although certainly also one of the most beautiful. It's based on Fractals which do are generally spoken the most amazing and beautiful structures a man has ever seen. They certainly don't need to be afraid of a comparison with the greatest masterpieces of art that have been made during the last centuries. Fractals are the most graceful and fragile structures you can find. Changing a single number (even if it's six digits behind the comma) will destroy the whole structure. Their awesome beauty is based on sometimes extremely simple relations and still looking at them makes you feel overwhelmed about the beauty numbers can produce. Although they are so delicate, fractals go still hand in hand with the infinite. A fractal has a repetitive character. If you zoom in enough, you will find exactly the same structure. If you zoom in even more, you will find the same structure again and again... Generally fractals need to be drawn by a computer since you need a few million calculations for a good result. The following picture is an inverted Julia Set.

Finally another fractal. Unfortunately I do not know much about it. Not even which kind of Formula has been used.

7 of 8

4/16/08 1:24 AM

Romantic Mathematics

http://webplaza.pt.lu/laurent3/include/html/romantic.html

8 of 8

4/16/08 1:24 AM