Beautiful Spiral

Quote of the Day

If a mistake is not a stepping stone, then it is a mistake.

— Eli Siegel, "Damned Welcome"

I have always been amazed at the beautiful curves that relatively simple functions can generate. I saw this curve being discussed in The Guardian newspaper. The article also has an interesting interactive applet that shows you how this curve is constructed.

HarrissSpiralWhenever I see curves like this, I am reminded of graduate school and the curves we worked with when designing analog circuits, many of which were also beautiful. I do have one story of these curves that I want to share.

One day my adviser came in and said he was tired because his sleep had been disturbed. He explained that one of the other graduate students, who was a "night owl", had called him at 3 AM to tell him that he had discovered that some of the circuit curves we were working were Ovals of Cassini (see below). Our adviser was not impressed and apparently slammed the phone down on him.

OvalOfCassiniAfter that day, whenever we had a new circuit and new curves, someone always ask "I wonder if that curve is an Oval of Cassini" and people would chuckle.

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