Geometry (; ) is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space such as the distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures.
A mathematician who works in the field of geometry is called a geometer.Until the 19th century, geometry was almost exclusively devoted to Euclidean geometry, which includes the notions of point, line, plane, distance, angle, surface, and curve, as fundamental concepts.
During the 19th century several discoveries enlarged dramatically the scope of geometry. One of the oldest such discoveries is Carl Friedrich Gauss' italic=no ("remarkable theorem") that asserts roughly that the Gaussian curvature of a surface is independent from any specific embedding in a Euclidean space. This implies that surfaces can be studied intrinsically, that is, as standalone spaces, and has been expanded into the theory of and Riemannian geometry.
Later in the 19th century, it appeared that geometries without the parallel postulate (nonEuclidean geometries) can be developed without introducing any contradiction. The geometry that underlies general relativity is a famous application of nonEuclidean geometry.
Since then, the scope of geometry has been greatly expanded, and the field has been split in many subfields that depend on the underlying methods—differential geometry, algebraic geometry, computational geometry, algebraic topology, discrete geometry (also known as combinatorial geometry), etc.—or on the properties of Euclidean spaces that are disregarded—projective geometry that consider only alignment of points but not distance and parallelism, affine geometry that omits the concept of angle and distance, finite geometry that omits continuity, and others.
Originally developed to model the physical world, geometry has applications in almost all , and also in art, architecture, and other activities that are related to graphics.
Geometry also has applications in areas of mathematics that are apparently unrelated. For example, methods of algebraic geometry are fundamental in Wiles's proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, a problem that was stated in terms of elementary arithmetic, and remained unsolved for several centuries.
In the 7th century BC, the Greek mathematician Thales of Miletus used geometry to solve problems such as calculating the height of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. He is credited with the first use of deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales's theorem. Pythagoras established the Pythagoreans, which is credited with the first proof of the Pythagorean theorem,Eves, Howard, , Saunders, 1990, . though the statement of the theorem has a long history.
Eudoxus (408–) developed the method of exhaustion, which allowed the calculation of areas and volumes of curvilinear figures, as well as a theory of ratios that avoided the problem of incommensurable magnitudes, which enabled subsequent geometers to make significant advances. Around 300 BC, geometry was revolutionized by Euclid, whose Elements, widely considered the most successful and influential textbook of all time, introduced mathematical rigor through the axiomatic method and is the earliest example of the format still used in mathematics today, that of definition, axiom, theorem, and proof. Although most of the contents of the Elements were already known, Euclid arranged them into a single, coherent logical framework. The Elements was known to all educated people in the West until the middle of the 20th century and its contents are still taught in geometry classes today.Howard Eves, , Saunders, 1990, p. 141: "No work, except The Bible, has been more widely used...." Archimedes () of Syracuse, Italy used the method of exhaustion to calculate the area under the arc of a parabola with the summation of an infinite series, and gave remarkably accurate approximations of pi. He also studied the spiral bearing his name and obtained formulas for the of surfaces of revolution.Indian mathematicians also made many important contributions in geometry. The Shatapatha Brahmana (3rd century BC) contains rules for ritual geometric constructions that are similar to the Shulba Sutras. According to , the Śulba Sūtras contain "the earliest extant verbal expression of the Pythagorean Theorem in the world, although it had already been known to the Old Babylonians. They contain lists of Pythagorean triples,Pythagorean triples are triples of integers $(a,b,c)$ with the property: $a^2+b^2=c^2$. Thus, $3^2+4^2=5^2$, $8^2+15^2=17^2$, $12^2+35^2=37^2$ etc. which are particular cases of Diophantine equations.: "The arithmetic content of the Śulva Sūtras consists of rules for finding Pythagorean triples such as (3, 4, 5), (5, 12, 13), (8, 15, 17), and (12, 35, 37). It is not certain what practical use these arithmetic rules had. The best conjecture is that they were part of religious ritual. A Hindu home was required to have three fires burning at three different altars. The three altars were to be of different shapes, but all three were to have the same area. These conditions led to certain "Diophantine" problems, a particular case of which is the generation of Pythagorean triples, so as to make one square integer equal to the sum of two others." In the Bakhshali manuscript, there are a handful of geometric problems (including problems about volumes of irregular solids). The Bakhshali manuscript also "employs a decimal place value system with a dot for zero." Aryabhata's Aryabhatiya (499) includes the computation of areas and volumes. Brahmagupta wrote his astronomical work in 628. Chapter 12, containing 66 Sanskrit verses, was divided into two sections: "basic operations" (including cube roots, fractions, ratio and proportion, and barter) and "practical mathematics" (including mixture, mathematical series, plane figures, stacking bricks, sawing of timber, and piling of grain). In the latter section, he stated his famous theorem on the diagonals of a cyclic quadrilateral. Chapter 12 also included a formula for the area of a cyclic quadrilateral (a generalization of Heron's formula), as well as a complete description of rational triangles ( i.e. triangles with rational sides and rational areas).
In the Middle Ages, mathematics in medieval Islam contributed to the development of geometry, especially algebraic geometry.
"Omar Khayyam (c. 1050–1123), the "tentmaker," wrote an Algebra that went beyond that of alKhwarizmi to include equations of third degree. Like his Arab predecessors, Omar Khayyam provided for quadratic equations both arithmetic and geometric solutions; for general cubic equations, he believed (mistakenly, as the 16th century later showed), arithmetic solutions were impossible; hence he gave only geometric solutions. The scheme of using intersecting conics to solve cubics had been used earlier by Menaechmus, Archimedes, and Alhazan, but Omar Khayyam took the praiseworthy step of generalizing the method to cover all thirddegree equations (having positive roots). .. For equations of higher degree than three, Omar Khayyam evidently did not envision similar geometric methods, for space does not contain more than three dimensions, ... One of the most fruitful contributions of Arabic eclecticism was the tendency to close the gap between numerical and geometric algebra. The decisive step in this direction came much later with Descartes, but Omar Khayyam was moving in this direction when he wrote, "Whoever thinks algebra is a trick in obtaining unknowns has thought it in vain. No attention should be paid to the fact that algebra and geometry are different in appearance. Algebras are geometric facts which are proved."". AlMahani (b. 853) conceived the idea of reducing geometrical problems such as duplicating the cube to problems in algebra. Thābit ibn Qurra (known as Thebit in Latin) (836–901) dealt with arithmetic operations applied to of geometrical quantities, and contributed to the development of analytic geometry. Omar Khayyam (1048–1131) found geometric solutions to . The theorems of Ibn alHaytham (Alhazen), Omar Khayyam and Nasir alDin alTusi on , including the Lambert quadrilateral and Saccheri quadrilateral, were early results in hyperbolic geometry, and along with their alternative postulates, such as Playfair's axiom, these works had a considerable influence on the development of nonEuclidean geometry among later European geometers, including Vitello (), Gersonides (1288–1344), Alfonso, John Wallis, and Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri.Boris A. Rosenfeld and Adolf P. Youschkevitch (1996), "Geometry", in Roshdi Rashed, ed., Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, Vol. 2, pp. 447–494 470, Routledge, London and New York:In the early 17th century, there were two important developments in geometry. The first was the creation of analytic geometry, or geometry with coordinates and , by René Descartes (1596–1650) and Pierre de Fermat (1601–1665).
This was a necessary precursor to the development of calculus and a precise quantitative science of physics. The second geometric development of this period was the systematic study of projective geometry by Girard Desargues (1591–1661). Projective geometry studies properties of shapes which are unchanged under projections and sections, especially as they relate to artistic perspective.Two developments in geometry in the 19th century changed the way it had been studied previously.
These were the discovery of nonEuclidean geometries by Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, János Bolyai and Carl Friedrich Gauss and of the formulation of symmetry as the central consideration in the Erlangen programme of Felix Klein (which generalized the Euclidean and nonEuclidean geometries). Two of the master geometers of the time were Bernhard Riemann (1826–1866), working primarily with tools from mathematical analysis, and introducing the Riemann surface, and Henri Poincaré, the founder of algebraic topology and the geometric theory of . As a consequence of these major changes in the conception of geometry, the concept of "space" became something rich and varied, and the natural background for theories as different as complex analysis and classical mechanics.
With these modern definitions, every geometric shape is defined as a set of points; this is not the case in synthetic geometry, where a line is another fundamental object that is not viewed as the set of the points through which it passes.
However, there are modern geometries in which points are not primitive objects, or even without points. One of the oldest such geometries is Whitehead's pointfree geometry, formulated by Alfred North Whitehead in 1919–1920.
In Euclidean geometry, angles are used to study and , as well as forming an object of study in their own right. The study of the angles of a triangle or of angles in a unit circle forms the basis of trigonometry.
In differential geometry and calculus, the angles between or or surfaces can be calculated using the derivative.Stewart, James (2012). Calculus: Early Transcendentals, 7th ed., Brooks Cole Cengage Learning.
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In topology, a curve is defined by a function from an interval of the real numbers to another space. In differential geometry, the same definition is used, but the defining function is required to be differentiable Algebraic geometry studies , which are defined as algebraic varieties of dimension one.
Manifolds are used extensively in physics, including in general relativity and string theory.Yau, ShingTung; Nadis, Steve (2010). The Shape of Inner Space: String Theory and the Geometry of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions. Basic Books. .
In Euclidean geometry and analytic geometry, the length of a line segment can often be calculated by the Pythagorean theorem.
Area and volume can be defined as fundamental quantities separate from length, or they can be described and calculated in terms of lengths in a plane or 3dimensional space. Mathematicians have found many explicit formulas for area and formulas for volume of various geometric objects. In calculus, area and volume can be defined in terms of , such as the Riemann integral
or the Lebesgue integral.
In a different direction, the concepts of length, area and volume are extended by measure theory, which studies methods of assigning a size or measure to sets, where the measures follow rules similar to those of classical area and volume.
Congruence and similarity are generalized in transformation geometry, which studies the properties of geometric objects that are preserved by different kinds of transformations.
In general topology, the concept of dimension has been extended from , to infinite dimension (, for example) and positive (in fractal geometry).
In algebraic geometry, the dimension of an algebraic variety has received a number of apparently different definitions, which are all equivalent in the most common cases.
A different type of symmetry is the principle of duality in projective geometry, among other fields. This metaphenomenon can roughly be described as follows: in any theorem, exchange point with plane, join with meet, lies in with contains, and the result is an equally true theorem. A similar and closely related form of duality exists between a vector space and its dual space.
In particular, differential geometry is of importance to mathematical physics due to Albert Einstein's general relativity postulation that the universe is curvature.
Differential geometry can either be intrinsic (meaning that the spaces it considers are whose geometric structure is governed by a Riemannian metric, which determines how distances are measured near each point) or extrinsic (where the object under study is a part of some ambient flat Euclidean space).
Immanuel Kant argued that there is only one, absolute, geometry, which is known to be true a priori by an inner faculty of mind: Euclidean geometry was synthetic a priori.Kline (1972) "Mathematical thought from ancient to modern times", Oxford University Press, p. 1032. Kant did not reject the logical (analytic a priori) possibility of nonEuclidean geometry, see Jeremy Gray, "Ideas of Space Euclidean, NonEuclidean, and Relativistic", Oxford, 1989; p. 85. Some have implied that, in light of this, Kant had in fact predicted the development of nonEuclidean geometry, cf. Leonard Nelson, "Philosophy and Axiomatics," Socratic Method and Critical Philosoph, Dover, 1965, p. 164. This view was at first somewhat challenged by thinkers such as Saccheri, then finally overturned by the revolutionary discovery of nonEuclidean geometry in the works of Bolyai, Lobachevsky, and Gauss (who never published his theory). They demonstrated that ordinary Euclidean space is only one possibility for development of geometry. A broad vision of the subject of geometry was then expressed by Riemann in his 1867 inauguration lecture Über die Hypothesen, welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen ( On the hypotheses on which geometry is based), published only after his death. Riemann's new idea of space proved crucial in Albert Einstein's general relativity theory. Riemannian geometry, which considers very general spaces in which the notion of length is defined, is a mainstay of modern geometry.
The field of topology, which saw massive development in the 20th century, is in a technical sense a type of transformation geometry, in which transformations are .
This has often been expressed in the form of the saying 'topology is rubbersheet geometry'. Subfields of topology include geometric topology, differential topology, algebraic topology and general topology.
In general, algebraic geometry studies geometry through the use of concepts in commutative algebra such as multivariate polynomials.
It has applications in many areas, including cryptography and string theory.
Complex geometry first appeared as a distinct area of study in the work of Bernhard Riemann in his study of .Forster, O. (2012). Lectures on Riemann surfaces (Vol. 81). Springer Science & Business Media. Miranda, R. (1995). Algebraic curves and Riemann surfaces (Vol. 5). American Mathematical Soc.
Work in the spirit of Riemann was carried out by the Italian school of algebraic geometry in the early 1900s. Contemporary treatment of complex geometry began with the work of JeanPierre Serre, who introduced the concept of sheaves to the subject, and illuminated the relations between complex geometry and algebraic geometry.Serre, J. P. (1955). Faisceaux algébriques cohérents. Annals of Mathematics, 197–278.Serre, J. P. (1956). Géométrie algébrique et géométrie analytique. In Annales de l'Institut Fourier (vol. 6, pp. 1–42). The primary objects of study in complex geometry are , complex algebraic varieties, and complex analytic varieties, and holomorphic vector bundles and coherent sheaves over these spaces. Special examples of spaces studied in complex geometry include Riemann surfaces, and Calabi–Yau manifolds, and these spaces find uses in string theory. In particular, of strings are modelled by Riemann surfaces, and superstring theory predicts that the extra 6 dimensions of 10 dimensional spacetime may be modelled by Calabi–Yau manifolds.
Although being a young area of geometry, it has many applications in computer vision, image processing, computeraided design, medical imaging, etc.
Geometric group theory often revolves around the Cayley graph, which is a geometric representation of a group. Other important topics include quasiisometry, Gromovhyperbolic groups, and right angled Artin groups.
Convex geometry dates back to antiquity. Archimedes gave the first known precise definition of convexity. The isoperimetric problem, a recurring concept in convex geometry, was studied by the Greeks as well, including Zenodorus. Archimedes, Plato, Euclid, and later Kepler and Coxeter all studied and their properties. From the 19th century on, mathematicians have studied other areas of convex mathematics, including higherdimensional polytopes, volume and surface area of convex bodies, Gaussian curvature, algorithms, tilings and lattices.
Artists have long used concepts of proportion in design. Vitruvius developed a complicated theory of ideal proportions for the human figure.
These concepts have been used and adapted by artists from Michelangelo to modern comic book artists.The golden ratio is a particular proportion that has had a controversial role in art. Often claimed to be the most aesthetically pleasing ratio of lengths, it is frequently stated to be incorporated into famous works of art, though the most reliable and unambiguous examples were made deliberately by artists aware of this legend.
Tilings, or tessellations, have been used in art throughout history. Islamic art makes frequent use of tessellations, as did the art of M. C. Escher.
Escher's work also made use of hyperbolic geometry.Cézanne advanced the theory that all images can be built up from the sphere, the cone, and the cylinder. This is still used in art theory today, although the exact list of shapes varies from author to author.
Riemannian geometry and pseudoRiemannian geometry are used in general relativity.
Another important area of application is number theory.
In ancient Greece the Pythagoreans considered the role of numbers in geometry. However, the discovery of incommensurable lengths contradicted their philosophical views. Since the 19th century, geometry has been used for solving problems in number theory, for example through the geometry of numbers or, more recently, scheme theory, which is used in Wiles's proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.

