hello guys it’s great to be back. Today I am going to talk about one of the most hated topics especially for school students but probably one of the most interesting topics when we dig deep into the subject.
Math and many of its aspects are a major part of everyday life. We spend the majority of our school years studying and learning the concepts of it. Many times, the question of ‘why do we need to know these things?’ has been asked. So, in this article I am going to emphasise on the development of one subconcept of mathematics which is called “geometry” and it’s ever growing usage.
‘Geometry’ technically means ‘measure of the earth’. Geometry is the mathematics of the properties, measurement, and relationship of the points, lines, angles, surfaces, and solids. Pythagoras emphasised the study of musical harmony and geometry. His theorem was that the square of the length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the other two sides. Johannes Kepler, formulator of the laws of planetary motion is quoted as saying, ‘Geometry has two great treasures: one of them is the theorem of Pythagoras, the other the division of a line into mean and extreme ratios, that is the Golden Mean.’ As time moved on new concepts came out from various scientists.
An ancient Greek mathematician, named Euclid, was the founder of the study of geometry. Euclid’s Elements is the basis for modern school textbooks in geometry. He created various axioms and postulates which then went on to shape modern geometry. His axioms and postulates were less of mathematics and more of mere common sense and simple logic. One such postulate was the parallel postulate: “That, if a straight line falling on two straight lines make the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely, meet on that side on which are the angles less than the two right angles.” People like Euclid and Pythagoras stated geometric concepts way before modern geometry had evolved and their theories formed a basis for modern geometry to develop. However, once various scientists came and went fresh ideas and approaches were needed to keep up with the quickly evolving science.
Some notable contributors to geometry were Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Leonhard Euler, and Albert Einstein.
Rene Descartes invented the methodology of analytic geometry, also called Cartesian geometry after him, which comprises of coordinate geometry as it’s called today. Blaise Pascal worked on projective geometry which is the study of geometric properties that are invariant with respect to projective transformations. This means that, compared to elementary geometry, projective geometry has a different setting, projective space, and a selective set of basic geometric concepts. Leonhard Euler who is considered to be the greatest mathematicians ever was credited for successfully relating algebra to geometry using the graph theory and number theory. Newton and Einstein contributed to develop non-Euclidean geometry and embedded calculus into geometry to find areas and volumes of irregular geometrical shapes.
The reason geometry is such an important part of mathematics is because mathematics is all about visualisation and without a visual idea it would have been nearly impossible to create mathematics as it stands today. To put this into perspective, if a person wants to measure the length between the foot of a ladder lying on a wall and the base of a wall, he would first imagine the scenario and visualise what this would look like which then makes it easier to calculate using the Pythagoras theorem. So, to answer the question asked at the start of this essay ‘why do we need to know these things?’ It is because although geometry may not be directly applied in real life it forms the basis for other mathematical operations.