# Portal:Mathematics

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## 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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Mathematics department in Göttingen where Hilbert worked from 1895 until his retirement in 1930 Image credit: Daniel Schwen |

**David Hilbert** (January 23, 1862, Wehlau, Prussia–February 14, 1943, Göttingen, Germany) was a German mathematician, recognized as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He established his reputation as a great mathematician and scientist by inventing or developing a broad range of ideas, such as invariant theory, the axiomization of geometry, and the notion of Hilbert space, one of the foundations of functional analysis. Hilbert and his students supplied significant portions of the mathematic infrastructure required for quantum mechanics and general relativity. He is one of the founders of proof theory, mathematical logic, and the distinction between mathematics and metamathematics, and warmly defended Cantor's set theory and transfinite numbers. A famous example of his world leadership in mathematics is his 1900 presentation of a set of problems that set the course for much of the mathematical research of the 20th century.

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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 a regular heptagon is the regular polygon with the fewest sides which is not constructible with a compass and straightedge?
- ...that the Catalan numbers solve a number of problems in combinatorics such as the number of ways to completely parenthesize an algebraic expression with
*n*+1 factors? - ...that a ball can be cut up and reassembled into two balls the same size as the original (Banach-Tarski paradox)?
- ...that it is impossible to devise a single formula involving only polynomials and radicals for solving an arbitrary quintic equation?
- ...that Euler found 59 more amicable numbers while for 2000 years, only 3 pairs had been found before him?
- ...that you cannot knot strings in 4-dimensions? You can, however, knot 2-dimensional surfaces like spheres.

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The **Mathematics WikiProject** is the center for mathematics-related editing on Wikipedia. Join the discussion on the project's **talk page**.

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## Index of mathematics articles

ARTICLE INDEX: | A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z (0–9) |

MATHEMATICIANS: | A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z |

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