Lituus (mathematics)

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Branch for positive r

In mathematics, a lituus is a spiral with polar equation

where k is any non-zero constant. Thus, the angle θ is inversely proportional to the square of the radius r.

This spiral, which has two branches depending on the sign of r, is asymptotic to the x-axis. Its points of inflexion are at

The curve was named for the ancient Roman lituus by Roger Cotes in a collection of papers entitled Harmonia Mensurarum (1722), which was published six years after his death.

External links[edit]

  • "Lituus", Encyclopedia of Mathematics, EMS Press, 2001 [1994]
  • Weisstein, Eric W. "Lituus". MathWorld.
  • Interactive example using JSXGraph
  • O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Lituus", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
  • on the history of the lituus curve.