EDUCATION: Bent Into Shape

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Science  27 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5799, pp. 571
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5799.571c

The National Curve Bank, hosted by two mathematicians and a computer scientist at California State University, Los Angeles, is a hall of fame for geometrical figures. The more than 60 pages—many contributed by site visitors—explore curves that have vexed and intrigued mathematicians, such as the conchoid of Nicomedes, a shell-like shape developed in the 3rd century B.C.E., and the familiar Möbius strip. This twisted loop defies expectations because it has only one surface instead of a top and bottom. The features also offer historical background about the discoverer and include animations or Java applets.

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