Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Schwarz-Christoffel formula

An existing mathematical equation, now known as the Schwarz-Christoffel formula, was independently discovered by two mathematicians in the 1860s to enable them to translate the unusual and angular shapes of the real world, whether brains or aircraft wings, into a simpler circular shape so that they are much easier to model and analyse.The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in America describest the work as a "breakthrough" that will have an impact on in all kinds of applications ranging from traditional engineering disciplines such as aeronautics.Professor Crowdy, a specialist in applied mathematics at Imperial College, London, has now succeeded in completing the formula that eluded scientists for 140 years.He realised that by applying a different mathematical technique – the theory of Schottky Groups, which was developed 20 years after the orginal equation – the formula could be improved to cope with any shape.

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