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Abstract. In this paper, we take an in-depth look of various curvature measures for curves and surfaces. We start by defining what curvature is and
how to calculate it for space curves. After reviewing generalized curvature for
curves embedded in spaces of arbitrary dimension, we use the rest of the paper to discuss different curvature measures computed on surfaces, which is the
focus of the paper. In examining surfaces, we first define the first and second
fundamental forms of a surface as they are intimately related to every concept
of curvature defined for surfaces. Using these forms, we describe the normal
curvature of a surface, and briefly mention the geodesic curvature as well. We
then define the principal curvatures both geometrically in terms of the normal
curvature, and algebraically through the shape operator, or Weingarten Map.
Our definitions for the Gaussian and mean curvatures of a surface then directly
come from these principal curvatures. By looking at surfaces which have zero
mean curvature, we quickly overview minimal surfaces. We then conclude the
paper by defining the Ricci curvature tensor for a surface, which is defined in
terms of the Riemann curvature tensor, which is in turn defined in terms of the
Christoffel symbols, which come directly from the surface’s first fundamental

1. Introduction
Curvature is a mathematical concept which has been around for thousands of
years. Curvature is used to relate the amount of bending of an object at each
point on the object, possibly with respect to a given direction depending on the
dimension of the object. The initial objects of study with respect to their curvature
were curves, the simplest such object, being only one-dimensional. The notion of
curvature is very important, as it completely determines a curve, up to rigid motion, as stated in the fundamental theorems of plane and space curves (here, rigid
motion indicates a distant-preserving transformation consisting of translations and
rotations). The origins of the study of curvature come from the Ancient Greeks,
who noticed the difference a line, which doesn’t bend at all, and a circle, which has
a constant amount of bending at each of its points. Aristotle expanded upon these
observations by classifying every curve as either straight, circular, or mixed, which
formed the basis for studying curvature. [10]
In the third century B.C., Apollonius of Perga advanced the study of curvature
by studying conic sections and discovering that there is exactly one normal line
at each point of a conic. He also determined procedures for finding the radius
of curvature of a curve, such as by using the method of exhaustion, which paved
the way for later discoveries made by Newton and Huygens, who used remarkably
similar methods to do this calculation. In the fourteenth century, Nicole Oresme,
through drawing graphs, noticed that if two curves are tangent to each other at a
point and one lies inside the other (that is, on the other curve’s concave side), the



inner cuve bends more than the outer curve. This is very intutive and easy to see
graphically. Look at the bending of the parabolas y = x2 and y = 2x2 at the origin,
for example, which is shown in Figure 1.1 This observation led him to propose that
the curvature of a circle is simply the multiplicative inverse of its radius. Circa the
year 1600, Johannes Kepler introduced the notion which later became known as
the circle of curvature when he he constructed a circle tangent to a given point of
a curve, which he used to approximate the curve. [10]

Figure 1.1. Here, we see the difference in the amount of bending of the parabols
y = x2 and y = 2x2 at the origin. From pure observation, we notice that the inner
parabola y = 2x2 has the greater degree of bending of the two curves. This can
be verified algebraically, as it has curvature 4 at the origin, while y = x2 only has
curvature 2.

Figure 1.2. The circle of curvature, or osculating circle, at a point P on an
arbitrary curve C, first used by Kepler. The radius of this circle, known as the
radius of curvature of C at P , is labeled by r. These terms and ideas were formalized
by later mathematicians, such as Isaac Newton.

Significant advances in the field of curvature were made with the advent of analytic geometry. Renes Descartes and Pierre de Fermat, two of the first analytic
geometers, devised a way to express a generic curve algebraically. This, of course,
was a highly significant and necessary step, as this algebraic representation was later
needed in order to rigorously describe the curvature of a general curve through calculus. The progress of these mathematicians, however, was greatly hindered by the
lack of the mathematical constat π in their analysis. [10]
Calculus was then invented in the late seventeenth century. Calculus, being
founded on the concepts of limits and infinitesimals, was a natural way to descibe

However. [10] Isacc Newton. Newton saw that curves behave like lines in the infinitesimally small regions near their inflection points. as we see that the tangent lines at this function’s extrema are clearly both horizontal (have zero slope). it was necessary to look at an infinitemsimal piece of a curve surrounding one of its points in order to accurately describe the curve’s curvature at that point. Clairaut studied these curves by taking DesCartes’ method of taking these space curves and projecting them onto two perpendicular planes. giving these points on the curve an infinite radius of curvature. Alexis-Claude Clairaut became the first geometer to study the curvature of space curves. and the largest circle whch is tangent to a curve at a point and lies on its concave side has the same curvature as the curve at that point. where the center of this circle is called the center of curvature. He noticed that space curves have two different curvature measures at each of their points. However. which is the plane formed by the unit tangent and unit normal vectors at a given point. Newton described the center of curvature at a given point on a curve as the point of intersection of the normals of two points an infinitesimal distance from the given point on either side of it. co-inventor of calculus. began his investigation of curvature by considering the following elementary facts and observations: the curvature of a circle is constant and is the multiplicative inverse of its radius. and so making the curvature undefined. as well as his own observations. Using infinitesimals.3. Since two general curves have different magnitudes of bending at each of their points. The graph of an arbitrary curve. as we see in Figure 1. to find the points where the curve bended the most and the least. Using this definition. This graph also illustrates Newton’s method of finding maxima and minima by setting the function’s derivative equal to 0. We see that the curve behaves like a straight line at its point of inflection. The second of these. curves embedded in a three-dimensional space. [10] Figure 1. . This realization that an object could have different curvature measures influenced the work of later geometers.3. Newton’s curvature formula was problematic for points of inflection. which measures how quickly the curve’s osculating plane changes. Newton also noticed that he could apply his methods of finding extrema of functions from calculus. he called the torsion. Using calculus. which is not applicable to plane curves and is new to space curves.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 3 curvature. In 1731. by setting the function’s derivative equal to 0. Calculus was the perfect tool to accomplish this. where the projections could be treated as simple plane curves. lines have an infinite radius of curvature. Newton developed a formula for the radius of curvature of a curve at a point.

He also created a new way to define a curve’s curvature. which means that it is an intrinsic measure of curvature which is invariant to the space the surface is embedded in. It was Euler who came up with the theorem that if a curve is given in terms of a parameterization. Using the same principal curvatures which Gauss took the product of to find the Guassian curvature.4 THOMAS SWIFT such as Gauss. This function is known as Euler’s map. Karl Gauss caused drastic advancements in differential geometry by studying the curvature of surfaces rather than curves. he defined the concept of a differentiable manifold equipped with an inner product. Examples of such surfaces will be given later in the paper. he is able to write the Gaussian curvature solely in terms of the components of the first fundamental form matrix of the surface and its derivatives. then the curvature equals the magnitude of the second derivative of this parameterization. which are now called Riemannian manifolds. That is. along with Elwin Christoffel. which are surfaces which have zero mean curvature everywhere. which generalizes Euler’s Map from the one dimensional unit circle to the two dimensional unit sphere. [10] Sophie German worked with a different kind of surface curvature in her research. At a given point p on a curve. Euler would take the unit tangent vector at p and assign it a point on the unit circle. who extended the study of curvature to two-dimensional objects. This new quantity is known as the mean curvature of a surface at a point [11]. [10] In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. which was related to the Guassian curvature. [10] The next mathematician to make a significant contribution towards the study of curvature was Leonhard Euler. In doing so. This was a hugely important discovery since parameterized curves are ubiquitous in modern differential geometry. he. Gauss made many important contributions to differential geometry. or Riemann-Christoffel tensor. if we have C = r(t) for a curve C. or dθ ds . Firstly. The Gauss Map maps the unit normal vectors of a surface. These objects were historically called minimal surfaces because they minimized the surface’s surface area given a specific boundary or constraint. or Riemannian metric. In Gauss’ Theorem Egregium. German instead took the average of these maximum and minimum curvatures. However. Bernhard Riemann generalized Gauss’ work on surfaces to arbitrary n-dimensional objects. rather than the unit tangent vectors of a curve. defined the Riemann curvature tensor. [1] In 1854. The curvature was then the infinitesimal change of the angle of the tangent vector divided by the infinitesimal change of the arc length. this is not always the case and having mean curvature be everywhere zero is the sole condition for a surface to be minimal. he invented the Gauss Map. which would encode the direction of that vector. which is the product of that point’s principal curvatures. Most importantly. The mean curvature is important because it is used to find objects called minimal surfaces. the maximum and minimum curvatures of all curves on the surface which go through the point. Gauss also invented the Gaussian curvature for a point on a surface. surfaces. then the curvature κ is given by κ(t) = |r00 (t)| for all t in the curve’s domain (we note that this only holds for unit-speed parameterizations of curves). for a point on an .

the curvature is defined as . This has the result of increasing and decreasing. with respect to the unit tangent vector T . unlike when M is a hypersurface (a surface of dimension n − 1 embedded in a space of dimension n). This is known as the uniformization theorem. In the general case of n-dimensional Riemannian manifolds. 16] 2. This tensor is a collection of scalars which specifies the amount of bending of the manifold at a given point. in the case of two-dimensional manifolds at least. [16] Ricci flow is an analog of the heat equation. respectively. Christoffel is the mathematician for which the Christoffel symbols are named. That is. the Gauss curvature of the manifold is known as the manifold’s sectional curvature. he noticed that he could contract the Riemann curvature tensor (take its trace) to get a two-dimensional tensor which had these nice properties [13]. is constant throughout the body. However. Ricci developed Ricci curvature because he noticed that if M is a Riemannian manifold. and the arc length s. which relate the ricci tensor.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 5 n-dimensional manifold. and the metric to the Einstein tensor and energymomentum (stress-energy) tensor. the curvature of C is defined as the rate of change of the direction of C with respect to its arc length. This was very problematic. Curvature of Curves 3 Let C = r(t) : R → R be a space curve. where it is a term in the Einstein field equations. Ricci curvature has applications to general relativity. The stretching and contracting of the metric is greater the higher the magnitude of the Ricci curvature. Similarly. 15] Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro then introduced Ricci curvature. and contracts it in the directions where the Ricci curvature is positive. 17]. Then. For manifolds of higher dimension than two. which are used in defining the Riemann curvature tensor. the distance between points on the manifold. [12. which specifies direction. Ricci flow deforms the Riemannian metric of the manifold into a metric which has constant Ricci curvature. It also is used in the Ricci flow equation which was introduced by Richard Hamilton. [8. Ricci flow is a process which stretches the metric in the directions where the Ricci curvature is negative. which states that heat moves through an object until a state of equilibrium is reached in which the temperature. [13. then M doesn’t have an inherent second fundamental form. amount of heat. and therefore doesn’t have have any prinicpal curvatures or directions which come from the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the matrix reprsenetation of this form. the scalar curvature (contraction of the ricci tensor).



dT .


. (1) κ = .


ds .

14] . the arc length function s(t) of r(t) is defined as s(t) = a |r0 (u)| du. we let a = 0. which alternatively can be written as κ= |T 0 (t)| |r0 (t)| and κ= |r0 (t) × r00 (t)| . |r0 (t)|3 (2) Rt Here. where a is the point from which we start measuring the arc length. [5. Note that in most cases.

Thus. as well as its curvature and torsion. . √12 >. sin t. Thus.1. and therefore N (s) = T 0 (s) |T 0 (s)| = <− 12 cos( √s2 ). − sin( √s2 ). √12 cos( √s2 ). B(s) is then given by B(s) = T (s) × N (s) =< √12 sin( √s2 ). and so r(s) is indeed a unit speed curve. and thus v(t) = 1 ∀t. which specify the relationship between the components of the Frenet frame of a curve and their derivatives. √12 >. We see that r0 (t) =< − sin t.6 THOMAS SWIFT The curvature is a key component of the Frenet-Serret formulas. 0 >= 12 . 0 > · < − cos( √s2 ). − 12 sin( √s2 ). The Frenet frame of a curve C consists of the unit tangent vector T . 1 > and so |r0 (t)| = 2. The Frenet-Serret formulas can then be expressed in matrix notation as  0    T 0 vκ 0 T N 0  = −vκ 0 vτ  N  . These three vectors together define an orthonormal basis for any point on C. We first reparameterize the helix with respect to its arc length to simplify the cal√ culations. and the binormal vector B of C. Figure 2. sin( √s2 ). − √12 cos( √s2 ). these formulas simplify to    0  T 0 κ 0 T N 0  = −κ 0 τ  N  . t >.1. cos t.− 21 sin( √s2 ). The Frenet Frame of T. (3) B0 0 −vτ 0 B where v = |r0 (t)| is the speed of C and τ is the torsion of C. We see that T (s) = r0 (s) =< − √12 sin( √s2 ). and B vectors moving along a helix Example 2. we have t = √s2 . we calculate the curvature to be κ = κ(s) = T 0 (s)N (s) =< − 12 cos( √s2 ). If C is parameterized with respect to arc length. We want to calculate the Frenet frame for this helix. Using the Frenet formulas (4). the unit normal vector N .1 which can be parameterized by r(t) =< cos t.0> 1 2 =< − cos( √s2 ). its √ R t√ arc length is s(t) = 0 2 du = 2t. 0 >. 14] Figure 2. Consider the helix in Figure 2. N.1 below shows the Frenet frame for a helix at several different points along its path. √s2 > It can be easily verified that |r0 (s)| = 1. and B vectors constituting the Frenet frame of the helix. We now calculate the T . N . and so we obtain r(t(s)) = r(s) =< cos( √s2 ). (4) B 0 −τ 0 B0 [9. − sin( √s2 ).

= 0  . . . (5) j=1 where < ·. . ej (s) > ej (s). Let S = f (u. en s(s)) is then constructed from the first n derivatives of C. then the generalized curvature functions take the form < e0i (t). Next. . − 12 sin( √s2 ).qin the case of unit speed curves. z(u. 0 > · < − cos( √s2 ). − sin( √s2 ). the unit normal vector corresponds to the second Frenet vector e2 (s).. (6) [6. (7) |r0 (t)| Using the generalized curvature functions.. This process starts by defining the unit tangent vector as the first component of the Frenet frame e1 (s). 12 sin( √s2 ).. . which is then divided by its length to normalize the vector. where < ·. The first fundamental form of a suface S is defined as the restriction of < ·. .  . v) = (x(u. 1 6 i 6 n − 1. as it is for curves in R3 . e2 (s). We now look at generalized curvature for curves embedded in n-dimensional space.. 0 >= 12 . −κ1 (s)  e1 (s) . · > is the Euclidean inner product in R3 . (8)  . v) be a regular surface embedded in R3 . or Frenet curvatures.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 7 and the torsion to be τ = τ (s) = −B 0 (s)N (s) = − < 21 cos( √s2 ). which gives us. 9] If C is not parameterized with respect to arc length.. .     . (r0 (s). by the Gram-Schmidt process.. . · > to all tangent planes of S. · > is the inner product defined on Rn . Curvature of Surfaces We now turn our attention to describing the curvature of a surface. In order to describe the curvature of S. κ = |T 0 (s)| = | < − 12 cos( √s2 ). We can verify the value of the curvature through (2). 1 6 i 6 n. 0    0   . it is first necessary to discuss the fundamental forms of S. . v). a generalized version of the Frenet-Serret formulas can be written as follows   0 κ1 (s) 0 ··· 0  . The Frenet frame (e1 (s). which is simply the dot product. 0 > | = 1 4 = 12 . rn (s)). y(u. κi (s) are defined by κi (s) =< e0i (s). v). . . Let C = r(s) be a curve in Rn which is parameterized by its arc length s. which is given by e1 (s) = r0 (s). e1 (s) > e1 (s). e1 (s) . Additionally. |eˆi (s)| eˆi (s) = ri (s) − i−1 X < ri (s).. ei+1 (t) > κi (t) = . . r00 (s). ei+1 (s) >. which is defined as e2 (s) = r00 (s) − < r00 (s). 9] 3. the generalized curvature functions. κn−1 (s) 0 ··· 0 −κn−1 (s) 0 [2.    . That .  0    . This vector and the rest of the vectors in the Frenet frame are defined by ei (s) = eˆi (s) . en (s) en (s)  .

r sin θ cos φ. −r sin φ > · < r cos θ cos φ. (9) I(fv . y) =< s(x). is given by I(x. and G = fφ · fφ =< r cos θ cos φ. ∇v F = (F ◦ α(t))0 (0). denoted by II. r sin θ cos φ. fv ) E F I= = . We recall that to calculate the directional derivative of a vector field F along a surface S at a point p in the direction of v ∈ Tp S. where 0 < θ < 2π. y). or Weingarten Map. [14. y) = I(s(x).8 THOMAS SWIFT is. fu ) I(fu . 0 > and fφ =< r cos θ cos φ. where α : (−. Thus. and so form a basis for any tangent plane Tp S at a point p on S. is defined as II(x. 0 > · < r cos θ cos φ. r cos φ >. It describes the intrinsic geometry of a surface. y ∈ Tp S for some p. −r sin φ >= r2 . the first fundamental form can be expressed in this basis as the symmetric matrix     I(fu .1. r sin θ sin φ. r cos θ sin φ. Calculate the first fundamental form of the sphere of radius r Sr2 parameterized by f (θ. ) → S is a curve on S such that α(0) = p and α0 (0) = v. r sin θ cos φ. 3] Example 3. F = fu · fv = fv · fu . φ) =< r cos θ sin φ. r sin θ cos φ. That is. fv ) F G where E = fu · fu . we calculate the derivative of the restriction of F to a curve α(t) on S which passes through p and which has its tangent vector at p in the direction of v. E. which describes the extrinsic geometry of a surface with respect to the space it is embedded in. The second fundamental form can . 0 >= r2 sin2 φ. 0 < φ < 2π. s is the shape operator. We note that the second fundamental form II has a natural connection with the first fundamental form I since we can write II(x. fu and fv are linearly independent. Because S is regular. denoted by I. y) =< x. r cos θ sin φ. and G = fv · fv . We note that the matrix I representing the first fundamental form is also referred to as the metric tensor gij for 1 6 i. F . y > for any two tangent vectors x. −r sin φ >= 0. the first fundamental form. where n is the unit normal vector of S given by v n = |ffuu ×f ×fv | . j 6 2. F = fθ · fφ =< −r sin θ sin φ. the first fundamental form of Sr2 is given by   2 2 r sin φ 0 I= 0 r2 Now. it is also important to discuss the second fundamental form of S. y > for any two tangent vectors x. We first find the partial derivatives of Sr2 . and G are given by E = fθ · fθ =< −r sin θ sin φ. r cos θ sin φ. Here. The second fundamental form of a surface S. −r sin φ > . 4. fu ) I(fv . Thus. y ∈ Tp S for some p. which are given by fθ =< −r sin θ sin φ. 0 > · < −r sin θ sin φ. r cos θ sin φ. defined in terms of the directional derivative by s(x) = −∇x n. Then. as it completely determines the metric of S.

fu ) II(fv . and so < s(x). We also calculate its normal vector which is given by n ˆ = fθ ×fφ =< −r sin θ sin φ. fv ) M N 9 (10) where L = nu ·fu = fuu ·n. and so σ(t) 0 1 0 1 s(x) = −( r ) (0) = − r σ (0) = − r x. − sin θ sin φ. sin θ sin φ. fv } basis as the symmetric matrix     II(fu . y ∈ TpS . r sin θ cos φ. and N are possible because the shape operator is self-adjoint. −r sin θ sin φ. y >= < − 1r x. cos φ >= −r sin2 φ. However. To find the second fundamental form of Sr2 . y). and N = fφφ · n =< −r cos θ sin φ. fv ) L M II = = . −r2 sin φ cos φ >. for x ∈ Tp Sr2 . −r cos φ > · < cos θ sin φ. −r2 sin θ sin2 φ. 0 >. y >=< x. n =< − cos θ sin φ. y >= − 1r I(x. 14] Example 3. −r sin θ sin φ. M . This will easily be explained when we determine the shape operator for the sphere. sin θ sin φ. 7. ) → Sr2 such that σ(0) = p and σ 0 (0) = x. we then have. cos φ >= 0. II(fv . 0 >. −r cos φ > . Thus. the shape operator explains the relationship between the first two fundamental forms of Sr2 . 0 > × < r cos θ cos φ. −r sin φ > =< −r2 cos θ sin2 φ. y) =< s(x). L. r cos θ cos φ. fθφ = fφθ =< −r sin θ cos φ. fu ) II(fu . Thus. r cos θ sin φ. Using the definition of the directional derivative as stated before. φ) = r p. and fφφ =< −r cos θ sin φ. s(x) = −∇x n = −(N ◦ σ(t))0 (0) for σ : (−. − cos φ >. sin θ sin φ. −r sin θ sin φ. sin θ sin φ. .2. r cos θ cos φ. That is. Calculate the second fundamental form and shape operator (Weingarten Map) of the sphere of radius r Sr2 parameterized as above. each point on the sphere is its own normal vector (divided by the sphere’s radius to normalize its length). φ. since n(p) = 1r p ∀p ∈ Sr2 . and N are then given by L = fθθ · n =< −r cos θ sin φ. cos φ >. and N = nv ·fv = fvv ·n. y) = − 1r I(x. M . the second fundamental form of Sr2 is given by   −r sin2 φ 0 II = 0 −r We see that the sphere has the special relationship that II(x. as II(x. s(y) > ∀x. φ) for some θ. we see that (n ◦ σ(t)) = σ(t) r . We note that these simplifications of L. We then normalize n ˆ to get the unit normal vector. M = nu ·fv = fuv ·n = fvu ·n. −r sin θ sin φ. [4. We now note that for any point on the sphere p = f (θ. and then negate it to get the outward pointing unit normal n =< cos θ sin φ.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE also be expressed in the {fu . y). cos φ >= −r. we calculate its second order partial derivatives. which are fθθ =< −r cos θ sin φ. n(p) = 1 1 r f (θ. That is. its first and second fundamental forms are constant multiples of each other. 0 > · < cos θ sin φ. M = fθφ · n =< −r sin θ cos φ. 0 > · < cos θ sin φ. y >= − 1r < x.

We can also define the normal curvature in terms of the second fundamental form of S by κn = Ldu2 + 2M dudv + N dv 2 . where n is the unit normal vector of S as previously defined and α0 is the unit tangent vector. n(α(s)) >= 0 since the normal and tangent vectors to a curve . (12) M N dv [7] Figure 3. Furthermore. respectively. the coefficients of which are defined to be the normal curvature. The intersection of this plane with S will then define a curve α on S oriented in the direction of T called the normal section. This is because we know that < α0 (s). Also. since α is unit speed. we see that the normal curvature and geodesic curvature can be written as κn = α00 · n and κg = α00 · (n × α0 ). Because n and n × α0 are orthogonal vectors. we take the normal plane of S at p to be the plane spanned by the surface normal n(p) and the tangent vector T to S at p. n.1. and thus the curvature q of α is simply κ = |α00 | = κ2n + κ2g . α00 is orthogonal to α0 .1. for a point p on S. α00 can be written as a linear of combination of n and n × α0 . Let α(t) = f (u(t). κn and the geodesic curvature. Thus.10 THOMAS SWIFT Now that we have defined the fundamental forms of S. we can use them to define various curvature measures for S. v(t)) be a curve on S with unit speed. a moving frame which generalizes the Frenet frame. Normal and geodesic curvature of 2 different points on the same curve on a surface. That is. since α has unit speed. we see that the normal curvature is the component of the curvature of α in the direction of n. (11) 0 00 We note that. α00 = κn n + κg (n × α0 ). which can be expressed in matrix notation as     L M du κn = du dv . by separately multiplying both sides of the previous equation by these vectors. we see that for a unit tangent vector T ∈ Tp S for some p ∈ S and for a unit-speed curve α(s) on S such that α(0) = p and α0 (0) = T . Hence. T ). since α has unit speed. as the orthonormal basis {α0 . shown as components of the curve’s second derivative x00 Additionally. The first of these is the normal curvature of a curve on S. n × α0 }. That is. The curvature of α is then exactly the normal curvature κn of S. we use κn to define the normal curvature of S in the direction of a unit tangent vector T = α0 at a given point p on S. the normal curvature is given by κn = II(T. This relationship is illustrated in Figure 3. we have T (t) = α (t). which measures the curvature of S in the direction of T . κg . We can then define the Darboux frame.

there will exist unit tangent vectors T 1 and T 2 whose directions will. at a given point p on S. T ). we have < α00 (s). there are infinitely many unit vectors T which are tangent to S and run through p. Differentiating both sides and applying the product rule. (14) |T |=1 |T |=1 and the resulting maximizing and minimizing directions are T 1 and T 2. T ) (13) κ2 = min II(T. the principal curvatures can be defined in an alternative manner. The normal curvature κn is the curvature of the surface in the direction of the normal section. T ).2. (n(α))0 (0) >= 0. λ2 are given by λ1 = max < s(v). we see that S curves differently in different directions. and their corresponding curvatures κ1 and κ2 are called the principal curvatures of S at p. κ1 = max II(T. maximize and minimize κn of S at p. n >= − < T. respectively. 7] These values are geometrically depicted in Figure 3. |v|=1 As we showed. n(α(s)) > + < α0 (s). the principal curvatures κ1 and κ2 of S . However. Since the shape operator s is a self-adjoint linear map. < s(v). and so κn changes in value for each different unit tangent vector T . (a) Here. κ1 and κ2 are the prinicpal curvatures at p. (b) The tangent plane. v > |v|=1 λ2 = min < s(v). Furthermore. Thus. we see the normal vector n for a given point p on a surface. by the choice of α. respectively. The vectors T 1 and T 2 are called the principal directions of S at p. by the Fundamental Theorem of Self-Adjoint Operators. v >= II(v. and prinicpal curvature planes of a saddle at the point in its center Figure 3. s(T ) >=< s(T ). normal plane.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 11 are always perpendicular. specified by the unit tangent vector at p. That is. [3. Geometric interpretations of the normal and principal curvatures of a surface Through Linear Algebra.2 below. we have κn =< α00 . Thus. Thus. T >= II(T. n > + < T. v > . n(α(s)) >=< α00 . s has an orthonormal basis consisting of its eigenvectors. ∇T n >=< T. v). and so these eigenvalues match our definitions of the principal curvatures in (13). whose corresponding eigenvalues λ1 . by the definition of the directional derivative.

fv of f are unit length. then {fu . and so the shape operator is represented simply by the second fundamental form. then (I −1 II)T = κT . In either case. we see that (II − κI)T = 0. (15) If the tangent vectors fu . fv } is an orthonormal basis for Tp S. and so (I −1 II − κI2 )T = 0. fv } basis s = I −1 II =  E F −1  F L G M M N  . Multiplying each side by I and distributing. and so s = II. if we let κ represent the principal curvatures and T represent the principal directions. the principal directions are then simply the corresponding eigenvectors of these eigenvalues.12 THOMAS SWIFT are defined as the eigenvalues of the shape operator s. and so the principle curvatures k are obtained by solving . which can be expressed by the following matrix in the {fu . where I2 is the 2-dimensional identity matrix. [14] Thus.



L − kE M − kF .



(16) det(II − κI) = . = 0.

M − kF N − kG .

So. Using the principal curvatures and the matrix representation of the shape operator. We recall from our earlier examples that the shape operator of Sr2 is given by s(x) = − 1r x. and mean curvatures for the sphere of radius r Sr2 . Gaussian. and so we see that the principal . T ) is constant for any unit-length T ∈ Tp S. we see that II(T. which is an extrinsic curvature measure.3. Using the product and inverse det II properties of determinants. and the Mean curvature H. Find the principal. Thus. and so we have det II LN − M 2 K = det s = = . we can write the Gaussian and mean curvature in terms of the elements of the first and second fundamental form matrices E. we can write the mean curvature as H = trace s = LG − 2M F + N E 2(EG − F 2 ) (20) [3. 4. H can also be simply be defined as H = trs. 14] Example 3. which is an intrinsic curvature measured. The Gaussian curvature K. L. and N . are defined as K = det s = κ1 κ2 κ1 + κ2 1 . F. Since s is defined completely in terms of the first two fundamental forms. T ) = − 1r T · T = − 1r |T |2 = − 1r . then II(T. (19) det I EG − F 2 Taking the trace of s. H = trace s = 2 2 (17) (18) We note that the one half factor in front of the trace operator in the mean curvature calculation is optional. If we choose T ∈ Tp S with unit length. we define two curvature measures of a surface. We first take the geometric approach. G. M. maximizing and minimizing this value across all T ∈ Tp S yields this constant in both cases. det s = det(I −1 II) = det I −1 det II = det I −1 .

and its second order derivatives are given by rxx = (0. Thus. 2 2 r r r Example 3. y)). So. T ) = − |T |=1 Hence. f (x. We first parameterize S as r(x. the principal curvatures are κ1 = κ2 = − 1r . r |T |=1 κ1 = max II(T. once again. fxy ) ryy = (0. 0. 0. we’ve found the first and second fundamental forms of Sr2 are   2 2 r sin φ 0 I= 0 r2   −r sin2 φ 0 II = 0 −r Thus the shape operator in matrix form is represented by    1  1 0 −r −r sin2 φ 0 2 sin2 φ −1 r s = I II = = 1 0 0 −r 0 r2 0 − 1r  . fx ) ry = (0.4. r r 1 which yields the single root κ = − r .MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 13 curvatures are given by 1 r 1 κ2 = min II(T. 0. which are obtained by solving 1 1 (− − κ)(− − κ) = 0. its first order partial derivatives are given by rx = (1. the principal curvatures are given by the eigenvalues of s. 1. y) be a differentiable real-valued function representing a surface S in non-parametric form. the Gaussian curvature and mean curvatures are 1 1 1 K = κ1 κ2 = (− )(− ) = 2 r r r 1 1 1 1 1 H = (κ1 + κ2 ) = (− − ) = − . Then. y) = (x. 2 2 r r r We can also derive these results by following the algebraic approach. Again. T ) = − . Thus. fyy ). Let z = f (x. from previous examples. 0. We wish to obtain expressions for the Gaussian and mean curvature of S. fy ). we see that the Gaussian and mean curvatres are 1 1 1 K = κ1 κ2 = (− )(− ) = 2 r r r 1 1 1 1 1 H = (κ1 + κ2 ) = (− − ) = − . . fxx ) rxy = ryx = (0. y.

bv >. 2(1 + fx2 + fy2 ) (22) An application of mean curvature is to minimal surfaces. If the surface is given in nonparametric form by z = f (x. . A minimal surface is defined as a surface which has zero mean curvature at all of its points. b sinh u cos v. we see the surface is minimal if (1 + fy2 )fxx − 2fx fy fxy + (1 + fx2 )fyy = 0. Taking the determinant and (one half of) the trace of this matrix. which is a surface of revolution. (25) where the domain of both surfaces is −∞ < u < ∞ and 0 6 v < 2π and a. then using our calculation of the mean curvature of such a surface above in (22).1) = √ x 2 y 2 . II = q 1 + fx2 + fy2 fxy fyy Thus. the mean curvature given by half of its trace is clearly zero at any point on the plane. −a cosh u sin v. these are surfaces which have minimal surface area among all surfaces which are bounded by some curve or subject to some constraint. Generally. v) =< a cosh u cos v. b are constants. which we 1+fx +fy negate to make it outward pointing. classical examples of minimal surfaces are the catenoid. the shape operator is given by  −1   −1 1 + fx2 fx fy fxx fxy s= fx fy 1 + fy2 fxy fyy d   −1 (1 + fy2 )fxx − fx fy fxy (1 + fy2 )fxy − fx fy fyy . [1].14 THOMAS SWIFT Since its unit normal vector n is given by n = rx ×ry |rx ×ry | (−f . v) =< b sinh u sin v. = 3 (1 + fx2 )fxy − fx fy fxx (1 + fx2 )fyy − fx fy fxy d q where d = 1 + fx2 + fy2 . Other. non-trivial.−f . we see that the Guassian and mean curvatures are 2 fxx fyy − fxy (21) K= (1 + fx2 + fy2 )2 H= (1 + fy2 )fxx − 2fx fy fxy + (1 + fx2 )fyy . as the normal vector n of a plane is constant. A trivial example of a minimal surface is a plane. au >. (24) and the helicoid parameterized by f (u. and so rate of change of n is zero in any direction. These surfaces are pictured below in Figure 3. the first two fundamental forms of S are given by   1 + fx2 fx fy I= fx fy 1 + fy2   −1 fxx fxy . Since the shape operator is represented by the 0 matrix. parameterized by f (u. y). and hence s(x) = 0 ∀x ∈ Tp S. (23) This is known as the non-parametric minimal surface equation [1].3.

b sinh u cos v. its Gaussian curvature is given by: det II −1 −1 = 4 = 4 sech4 u. 0 . − sinh u > . 0 > 1 < cos v. 0 > fuu =< a cosh u cos v. au >. v) =< b sinh u sin v. bv >. −a sinh u cos v. We obtain the following for its partial derivatives and unit normal vector: K= fu =< b cosh u sin v. cosh u Its first two fundamental forms are then the following:  2    −a 0 a cosh2 u 0 I= II = 1 . Example 3. as in (24). sin v. a > fv =< −a cosh u sin v. −b cosh u sin v. An interesting relationship between the catenoid and helicoid can be uncovered by calculating the Gaussian curvature of each of these surfaces. 0 > fuv =< −a sinh u sin v.5. −b sinh u sin v. parameterized by f (u. its fundamental forms are given by:  2  b cosh2 u 0 I= 0 b2 cosh2 u fv =< b sinh u cos v. 0 > Thus. −b sinh u cos v. −a cosh u sin v. The Catenoid and Helicoid. as in (25). − sinh u > . 0 0 a2 cosh2 u a Hence. 0 > 1 fvv =< −a cosh u cos v. b cosh u cos v. 0 > fvv =< −b sinh u sin v. 0 > fuu =< b sinh u sin v. b > fuv =< b cosh u cos v.3. v) =< a cosh u cos v. 0 > n= < − cos v. −a cosh u cos v.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE (a) The Catenoid 15 (b) The Helicoid Figure 3. 4 det I a a cosh u We now consider the helicoid parameterized by f (u. −a sinh u sin v. We start by looking at the catenoid.examples of minimal surfaces. b sinh u cos v. − sin v. We calculate its partial derivatives and unit normal vector to be the following: fu =< a sinh u cos v. a cosh u sin v. n= cosh u II =  0 b  b . −a cosh u sin v.

in order to define the Ricci curvature properly. u2 ). j 6 2. we see that < fij . we must first introduce a couple of other geometric concepts. To solve for Γlij . For simplicity of notation. fk > +λij < n.16 THOMAS SWIFT Hence. i = j Now. we can write any second order partial derivative fij ∈ Tp R3 of S at p as fij = Γ1ij f1 + Γ2ij f2 + λij n = 2 X Γlij fl + λij n. we multiply (27) by the inverse metric element g km and use the definition of the Kronecker delta to obtain < fij . its Gaussian curvature is K= det II −1 −b2 = 2 sech4 u. (26) l=1 for scalar functions Γlij and λij . However. we have (g)(g −1 ) = I2 . (27) l=1 using the definition of the first fundamental form and the fact that n is orthogonal to tangent vector fk . fk >= 2 X Γlij < fl . This basis can be thought of as being analogous to the Frenet frame at a point on a space curve. This means that for a point p ∈ S. we see that the catenoid and helicoid have the same Gaussian curvature. the identity matrix. u2 ) = (x(u1 . = 4 4 det I b b cosh u Thus. in the case where b = a2 . by definition of the inverse. f2 . We then write the first and second order partial derivatives of S as ∂f ∂x ∂y ∂z fi = = ( i. n} is a basis for Tp R3 . {f1 . the first of which is the Christoffel symbols. and so. fk > g km = 2 X l=1 Γlij glk g km = 2 X l=1 Γlij δlm = Γm ij . u2 )). Introducing further notation. i) ∂ui ∂u ∂u ∂u ∂2x ∂2y ∂2z ∂2f = ( . fk >= l=1 2 X Γlij glk . j 6 2. . where δij is the Kronecker delta defined as  0. z(u1 . let us now parameterize our surface S by S = f (u1 . [3. 1 6 i. by Gauss’ Theorem Egregium. . i 6= j δij = 1. ) fij = ∂uj ∂ui ∂uj ∂ui ∂uj ∂ui ∂uj ∂ui for 1 6 i. 4. 14] By taking the dot product of (26) with fk for 1 6 k 6 2. y(u1 . Ricci Curvature of Surfaces We now discuss the quantity known as the Ricci curvature for surfaces. one can be deformed into the other by some isometric map. Then. and so (gij )(g ij ) = δij . u2 ). we see that for any point p ∈ S. we denote the components of the inverse metric by g ij = (gij )−1 . i.

fk > + < fj .i − gij. We first write ∂ ∂ ∂fi ∂fj gij = < fi .j + gjk. By taking the dot product of (26) with n. (31) We then see that computing (30) + (31) . fkj > + < fji . (28) However.(29) gives us gik. 2 and so we can write 2 Γlij = 1 X kl g (gik. Using the Gauss formula in (33) and the Weingarten equations in (34). 2 (32) k=1 The scalar functions Γlij are known as the Christoffel symbols. fj > + < fi . where IIij are the components of the second fundamental form of S. fjk > (29) gik.j =< fij .MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 17 By relabeling m for l.i =< fji . fk > + < fi . fk >. as in (15). and so we can rewrite (26) as fij = 2 X Γlij fl + IIij n. fk > = 2 < fij .k =< fij . fk > purely in terms of the metric g using Gauss’ trick of indix permutation. we obtain gij. fki > .k and by switching around the indices.i − gij.k =< fik . where s = I −1 II. fj >=< k . we see that λij = IIij . fk > + < fi . we obtain Γlij = g kl < fij .j + gjk. k k ∂u ∂u ∂u ∂u By using the notation the set of equtions ∂ g ∂uk ij = gij. (34) i=1 which gives the partial derivatives of the unit normal vector n in terms of the matrix components of the Weingarten Map (shape operator) sij . fkj > (30) gjk. fjk >) =< fij . by the symmetry of the inner product and mixed partial derivatives. nj = − 2 X sij fi . we see that we can obtain an expression for < fij .i − gij. k > . Hence. (33) l=1 which is known as the Gauss formula. fk >= (gik. fj > + < fi . fj > + < fi . We also introduce the Weingarten equations. fk > + < fji . Gauss . fk > + < fj .k ). fk > . 1 < fij .k ). fki > − (< fik .j + gjk.

(c+a cos v) cos u. (35) m=1 l for 1 6 i. −a sin v sin u.j = Γij. 17] Example 4.k + Γm ij Γmk − IIij slk ) fl + 2 X ! (IIij. The Ricci curvature tensor is then defined to be the contraction. this time of the Ricci curvature.k + 2 X l m l (Γm ik Γmj − Γij Γmk ) = IIik slj − IIij slk . 17]. we obtain the following formula for the Ricci curvature components: l Rij = Rilj = Γlij. like the first fundamental form. l. g =I = 1 0 a2 We next compute the components of the Riemann curvature tensor using the Christoffel symbols. one of the terms in the . for then l l m l m l Γik. (36) m=1 We note that. we define the Riemann curvature tensor Rijk l Rijk = Γlik. That is.1. by equating the j and l indices in the above Riemann curvature equation in (35). a generalization of the trace of a matrix. which are given by ∂ fij ∂uk 2 ∂ X l ( = Γij fl + IIij n) ∂uk fijk = l=1 = 2 X (Γlij. We calculate the Ricci curvature of the torus parameterized by f (u.k fl + Γlij flk ) + IIij. we obtain the scalar curvature of S. v) =< (c + a cos v) cos u. of the Riemann curvature tensor.l − Γlil. (c + a cos v) sin u. m 6 2 [3. l=1 By once again permuting the indices and by taking advantage of the fact that l to be xijk = xikj . and so its first fundamental form is:   (c + a cos v)2 0 gij = I = . as in (35). Since g 12 = g 21 = 0. 0 > and fv =< −a sin v cos u. which is given by R = g ij Rij (37) [8. We observe that Rijk = 0 when j = k. 0 a2 This gives the following for the inverse metric components:   1 0 2 ij −1 (c+a cos v) . a cos v >. k.k and Γik Γmj = Γij Γmk . By doing one more contraction. j.j − Γlij. Calculating its partial derivatives to be fu =< −(c+a cos v) sin u. a sin v >. 8.k n + IIij nk l=1 = ! 2 X 2 X l=1 m=1 l (Γlij. the Ricci tensor is symmetric.k + Γlij IIlk ) n.18 THOMAS SWIFT computed the third derivatives fijk of S.j + 2 X l m l (Γm ij Γml − Γil Γmj ).

and g12 = g21 = 0. when i = j. and Γlij. We also see that gij. Γvij = when i 6= j.i − gij. j since none of the metric components depend on u. g22.v ) 2 = 0.i − gij. Thus. a We then calculate 1 1 2 u v R11 = R111 + R121 = Ruuu + Ruvu = cos v(c + a cos v) a 1 2 u v R12 = R21 = R112 + R122 = Ruuv + Ruvv =0 a cos v 1 2 u v R22 = R212 + R222 = Rvuv + Rvvv = .u = 0 ∀i.j + gjk.j − Γvij. and so the Christoffel symbols are given by 1 Γlij = g kl (gik.1 = gij.i ) 2 = 0.i − gij. or vice-versa).MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 19 summation in (32) always vanishes.j + gj2. and so the Ricci curvature tensor for the torus is given by 1  cos v(c + a cos v) 0 a Rij = . So. we have the following non-zero components of the Riemann curvature tensor: a cos v u u Rvuv = −Rvvu = c + a cos v 1 v v Ruvu = −Ruuv = cos v(c + a cos v). 2 where k = l. we have u Rijk = Γuik. a l We now recall that Rijk = 0 when j = k.j − Γuij.k ). the only non-zero Christoffel symbols are: a sin v Γuuv = Γuvu = − c + a cos v 1 Γvuu = sin v(c + a cos v). Γvij 6= 0 only when i = j. 1 22 g (gi2. Enumerating the Riemann curvature tensor components over the values of l.k + 2 X v m v (Γm ik Γmj − Γij Γmk ).u ) 2 1 = g 11 (gi1. Since Γuij 6= 0 only when i 6= j (i is 1 and j is 2. 1 Γuij = g 11 (gi1.k + 2 X u m u (Γm ik Γmj − Γij Γmk ) m=1 v Rijk = Γvik.u = 0 ∀i.j + gj1. c + a cos v by contracting the Riemann curvature tensor.v = 0 since g22 = a2 is a constant.j + gj1. l. j. or i = j = 2. m=1 which are non-zero when j 6= k. a cos v 0 c+a cos v . Similarly.

New York. N. Using this extended metric. Geometry of Surfaces. as part of the upperlevel writing requirement for the mathematics major at the University of Rochester. For now. [9] K¨ uhnel. T. American Mathematical Society. Thanks to Professor Sema Salur for all of the guidance she gave me as I was writing this paper. G. and hence the Riemann and Ricci curvature tensors. we plan to look into how to measure curvature for generic manifolds of higher than two dimension. San Jose State University. J. Bellevue College.. it is easy to define the Christoffel symbols.Manifolds Second Edition. Iowa State University. Y-B.. M. Future Work In future papers. Differential Geometry Notes. an n-dimensional manifold M will have n parameters. Contemporary Calculus. 2004. W. . Chapter 3. or metric. of the manifold into an n-dimensional square matrix through computing the first order partial derivatives of M with respect to each of its n parameters. The indices for each of these components will simply each range from 1 to n instead of 1 to 2. Notes on Minimal Surfaces.. 2006. allowing them to easily be generalized to higher dimensional objects. Villanova University. 2007. 2009. References [1] Beeson. S. [11] McElroy. T-W. however. Korean Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (KSIAM) Conference. Surface Curvatures.. Differential Geometry: Curves . Acknowledgements. and we can therefore extend the first fundamental form. [2] Gallier.. Arc Length and Curvature of Space Curves... This paper was written as part of a one credit independent study in conjunction with course MTH 255. University of Pennsylvania. [7] Jia. Problem Solving Techniques for Applied Computer Science. Generalized curvatures of implicitly defined curves in Rn+1 . University of Miami. Facts on File. 2011. D.. and Kim. D. we see that many of the above concepts can easily be generalized to n-dimensional manifolds.Surfaces . Providence. [5] Hoffman. [10] Margalit. More Advanced Geometric Methods in Computer Science. 2005. Harvard University.. Chapter 5. To start. [4] Hitchin. 2005. 2010. Differential Geometry. [8] Kitagawa. A to Z of Mathematicians. [3] Galloway.. [6] Hur. T. More on Frenet Frames for nD curves.20 THOMAS SWIFT We finally do one more contraction to obtain the scalar curvature R= 2 X 2 X g ij Rij i=1 j=1 = g 11 R11 + g 12 R12 + g 21 R21 + g 22 R22 1 a cos v 1 1 ∗ cos v(c + a cos v) + 2 ∗ = 2 (c + a cos v) a a c + a cos v 2 cos v = a(c + a cos v) 5.. 2002. The History of Curvature. 2005. of M through the same equations as in the two-dimensional case. Next time. University of Oxford. we plan to provide more in-depth analysis of such manifolds and the different measures of curvature which are computed on them. Information in Curvatures.

2010. 2007. Matematicas (RACSAM). Ricci Flow. Revista de la Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas. D.. 2008. 2008. 99 (2). pp. [14] Shifrin.rochester.. Elwin Bruno. Ricci Flow and the Poincar´ e Conjecture. J.MEAN AND RICCI CURVATURE 21 [12] Morgan.. 2008. G. American Mathematical Society. 14627 E-mail address: tswift@u. Astrophysics Lecture 3. Preliminary Version. Comple Dictionary of Scientific Biography.M. Serie A. Northern Illinois University.. [17] Terzi´ c. J. Differential Geometry: A First Course in Curves and Surfaces. NY. University of California Los Angeles. Lecture 3: Einstein’s Field Equations. T. The Riemann Curvature Through History. University of Rochester. and Tian. ... [15] Struik. Providence. Fisicas y Naturales. [13] Naveira. Christoffel. Department of Mathematics. 195-210. [16] Tao. 2005. B. University of Georgia. A. T.