Hearing about
mathematics could be a sign of grief and sorrow. Generally around the world,
mathematics has been a tortuous topic because since the early grades. In
Spanish, there is a song that says: mathematics is the science which breaks
your patience…

So how could
be funny talk about names in mathematics?

Well, let me
tell you about that. There are some mathematical functions with plots that
resemble to funny or weird things and had been named in honor of those things.

For example, have
you heard about the popcorn function?

Formally this
function is named as the Thomae’s function but is known as the raindrop
function or Stars over Babylon function.

The Thomae’s
function is part of the Dirichlet functions that generate segments of different
sizes in a similar distribution as the Thomae’s function. How you would name
the Dirichlet functions?

A function is
a mathematical correspondence that associates two sets of variables. Its plot
gives the information of the function’s behavior. For example, you can see the
temperature variation along the days with the days being the independent variable
and the temperature being the dependent variable. But to describe the reality through
a function is not an easy task otherwise you know how to dress every day
following the information of a graphic shown in the TV news!

But coming
back to mathematics, there are other functions seen in the final courses of high
school and in mathematics related college courses as the cardioid. This curve
can be drawn marking a point in a circle that rolls over another quiet circle
and is very similar to a heart.

The cardioid
is drawn and studied in polar coordinates because the independent variable is
the rolling angle.

There is also
a curve drawn in polar coordinates generated with the cosine function and
resembles to a flower. Its name is: compass rose.

And what about
the Witch of Agnesi? It is a curve with the shape of a witch’s hat and named
Agnesi in honor to the Italian mathematician who discovered it. It can be
constructed using a circle and its tangent lines.

Among recent
functions, there is also the Mexican hat that is part of the wavelets used for
many applications as the analysis and recognizing of digital fingerprints.

And what about
the fraction sandwich? This is a name which remind us how to simplify the
division of fractions.

And talking
about food, what about the sandwich theorem another food that is useful to know
which functions limit other third function and is used to limit a behavior.

Something else
to include in this collection of math funny names?

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