Thursday, October 3, 2013

Asymptote Anecdote

During a discussion of science jokes with a group of friends, I mentioned that the asymptote is the mathematical model for my writing career. It’s a joke many people don’t get. 

Merriam Webster’s definition of asymptote is "a straight line associated with a curve such that as a point moves along an infinite branch of the curve the distance from the point to the line approaches zero and the slope of the curve at the point approaches the slope of the line," 

In other words, the curve approaches the line, gets infinitely close to it, yet never crosses it.  

One person asked about the origin of the word. Asymptote likely comes from Greek asymptōtos not meeting, from a- + sympiptein to meet.” (also Merriam Webster) 


Kristin Lenz said...

I needed the explanation, but I get it - all too well!

Ann Finkelstein said...

Kristin: There does seem to be an invisible boundary - at least for me. I wouldn't have understood the bit about maintaining meter when rhyming if Debbie Diesen hadn't explained it to me.

Wyman Stewart said...

You need to do some Quantum Tunneling to make the connection. (At least, I think that's what it's called.)

Ann Finkelstein said...

Wyman: It's worth a try.