Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Constant curvature

Constant curvature

Ask a question about 'Constant curvature'
Start a new discussion about 'Constant curvature'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
In mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, constant curvature in differential geometry is a concept most commonly applied to surface
In mathematics, specifically in topology, a surface is a two-dimensional topological manifold. The most familiar examples are those that arise as the boundaries of solid objects in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space R3 — for example, the surface of a ball...

s. For those the scalar curvature
Scalar curvature
In Riemannian geometry, the scalar curvature is the simplest curvature invariant of a Riemannian manifold. To each point on a Riemannian manifold, it assigns a single real number determined by the intrinsic geometry of the manifold near that point...

 is a single number determining the local geometry, and its constancy has the obvious meaning that it is the same at all points. The circle
A circle is a simple shape of Euclidean geometry consisting of those points in a plane that are a given distance from a given point, the centre. The distance between any of the points and the centre is called the radius....

 has constant curvature, also, in a natural (but different) sense.

The standard surface geometries of constant curvature are elliptic geometry
Elliptic geometry
Elliptic geometry is a non-Euclidean geometry, in which, given a line L and a point p outside L, there exists no line parallel to L passing through p. Elliptic geometry, like hyperbolic geometry, violates Euclid's parallel postulate, which can be interpreted as asserting that there is exactly one...

 (or spherical geometry
Spherical geometry
Spherical geometry is the geometry of the two-dimensional surface of a sphere. It is an example of a geometry which is not Euclidean. Two practical applications of the principles of spherical geometry are to navigation and astronomy....

) which has positive curvature, Euclidean geometry
Euclidean geometry
Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to the Alexandrian Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the Elements. Euclid's method consists in assuming a small set of intuitively appealing axioms, and deducing many other propositions from these...

 which has zero curvature, and hyperbolic geometry
Hyperbolic geometry
In mathematics, hyperbolic geometry is a non-Euclidean geometry, meaning that the parallel postulate of Euclidean geometry is replaced...

In geometry, the term pseudosphere is used to describe various surfaces with constant negative gaussian curvature. Depending on context, it can refer to either a theoretical surface of constant negative curvature, to a tractricoid, or to a hyperboloid....

 geometry) which has negative curvature. Since Riemann surface
Riemann surface
In mathematics, particularly in complex analysis, a Riemann surface, first studied by and named after Bernhard Riemann, is a one-dimensional complex manifold. Riemann surfaces can be thought of as "deformed versions" of the complex plane: locally near every point they look like patches of the...

s can be taken to have constant curvature, there is a large supply of other examples, for negative curvature.

For higher dimensional manifold
In mathematics , a manifold is a topological space that on a small enough scale resembles the Euclidean space of a specific dimension, called the dimension of the manifold....

s, constant curvature is usually taken to mean constant sectional curvature
Sectional curvature
In Riemannian geometry, the sectional curvature is one of the ways to describe the curvature of Riemannian manifolds. The sectional curvature K depends on a two-dimensional plane σp in the tangent space at p...

, and a complete manifold of this kind is called a space form
Space form
In mathematics, a space form is a complete Riemannian manifold M of constant sectional curvature K. The three obvious examples are Euclidean n-space, the n-dimensional sphere, and hyperbolic space, although a space form need not be simply connected.-Reduction to generalized crystallography:It is a...

. As in the case of surfaces, there are three types of geometries (elliptic, flat, or hyperbolic) according to whether the curvature is positive, zero, or negative. The universal cover of a manifold of constant sectional curvature is one of the model spaces (sphere, Euclidean space, hyperbolic space), and the study of space forms is thus generalized crystallography.
  • Spherical manifold
  • Flat manifold
    Flat manifold
    In mathematics, a Riemannian manifold is said to be flat if its curvature is everywhere zero. Intuitively, a flat manifold is one that "locally looks like" Euclidean space in terms of distances and angles, e.g. the interior angles of a triangle add up to 180°....

  • Hyperbolic manifold
    Hyperbolic manifold
    In mathematics, a hyperbolic n-manifold is a complete Riemannian n-manifold of constant sectional curvature -1.Every complete, connected, simply-connected manifold of constant negative curvature −1 is isometric to the real hyperbolic space Hn. As a result, the universal cover of any closed manifold...