# Portal:Mathematics

## The Mathematics Portal

**Mathematics** is the study of numbers, quantity, space, 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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*There are approximately 31,444 mathematics articles in Wikipedia.*

## Selected article

Blaise Pascal Image credit: User:Anarkman |

**Blaise Pascal** (pronounced [blez pɑskɑl]), (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the construction of mechanical calculators, the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalizing the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote powerfully in defense of the scientific method.

A mathematician of the first order, Pascal helped create two major new areas of research. He wrote a significant treatise on projective geometry at the age of sixteen and corresponded with Pierre de Fermat from 1654 on probability theory, strongly influencing the development of modern economics and social science.

Following a mystical experience in late 1654, he abandoned his scientific work and devoted himself to philosophy and theology. However, he had suffered from ill-health throughout his life and his new interests were ended by his early death two months after his 39th birthday.

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This is a chart of all prime knots having seven or fewer crossings (not including mirror images) along with the unknot (or "trivial knot"), a closed loop that is not a prime knot. The knots are labeled with Alexander-Briggs notation. Many of these knots have special names, including the trefoil knot (3_{1}) and figure-eight knot (4_{1}). **Knot theory** is the study of knots viewed as different possible embeddings of a 1-sphere (a circle) in three-dimensional Euclidean space (**R**^{3}). These mathematical objects are inspired by real-world knots, such as knotted ropes or shoelaces, but don't have any free ends and so cannot be untied. (Two other closely related mathematical objects are braids, which can have loose ends, and links, in which two or more knots may be intertwined.) One way of distinguishing one knot from another is by the number of times its two-dimensional depiction crosses itself, leading to the numbering shown in the diagram above. The prime knots play a role very similar to prime numbers in number theory; in particular, any given (non-trivial) knot can be uniquely expressed as a "sum" of prime knots (a series of prime knots spliced together) or is itself prime. Early knot theory enjoyed a brief period of popularity among physicists in the late 19th century after William Thomson suggested that atoms are knots in the luminiferous aether. This led to the first serious attempts to catalog all possible knots (which, along with links, now number in the billions). In the early 20th century, knot theory was recognized as a subdiscipline within geometric topology. Scientific interest was resurrected in the latter half of the 20th century by the need to understand knotting problems in organic chemistry, including the behavior of DNA, and the recognition of connections between knot theory and quantum field theory.

## Did you know…

- ...there are 19 consecutive prime numbers ending in the digit 1, starting from 253931039382791?
- ...that the Electronic Frontier Foundation funds awards for the discovery of prime numbers beyond certain sizes?
- ...that pi can be computed using only the number 2 by the work of Viète?
- … that the Riemann Hypothesis, one of the Millennium Problems, depends on the asymptotic growth of the Mertens Function?
- ...that outstanding mathematician Grigori Perelman was offered a Fields Medal in 2006, in part for his proof of the Poincaré conjecture, which he declined?
- ...that a regular heptagon is the regular polygon with the fewest number of sides which is not constructible with a compass and straightedge?
- ...that the Gudermannian function relates the regular trigonometric functions and the hyperbolic trigonometric functions without the use of complex numbers?

*Showing 7 items out of 73*

## WikiProjects

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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