Tour the Math Images Project

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Contents

Introduction to the Math Images Project

This beautiful image is a visual representation of Newton's Method. To learn more about this, check out the Newton's Basin page.
This beautiful image is a visual representation of Newton's Method. To learn more about this, check out the Newton's Basin page.

Welcome all those who enjoy interesting images, to the Math Images Project!

Our goal is to give people a new and enjoyable perspective on mathematics through beautiful and intriguing images available on the web. On our site, math is never presented simply as a mass of equations. Instead, images, animations, and plain-English explanations help clarify ideas, while applications, related puzzles, historical contexts, and other connections make it possible for you to learn something interesting even if you haven't enjoyed math in the past. Even our detailed mathematical explanations often take unique approaches to problems and questions, so they can provide advanced readers with an opportunity to research and learn.

This tour will show new users how to find information by searching for specific topics or simply perusing image pages, like the Fibonacci Numbers page. Additionally, we'll show users who wish to interact with the site how they can make a suggestion, ask a question, or contribute their own knowledge. The Math Images Project is a collaborative learning environment for all, so we hope that you explore our site to the fullest in whatever way you choose!

For Readers: using the Math Images site

Most of the content on our site is organized into two types of pages: image pages and helper pages.

Image pages are really what this site is about; they are focused around one central topic, and provide a combination of explanations, applications, images, interactive applets, and historical information about the topic.

Helper pages are used to supplement the content of image pages by providing additional information about a related topic. Links to helper pages can be found in many image pages. Some readers might choose to use a helper page as a reference in order to better understand an image page, while others use them just to learn more about an interesting topic.

There are at least two good ways to find and learn about interesting images and content on the Math Images website. One way is to find interesting image pages by browsing the site's collection of images. The other way is to search for specific images or content.

Browsing the Images

To browse the collection of images, use the "browse images by" section of the sidebar that is on the left-hand side of every page. The options there allow you to view either collections of thumbnails or lists of image names, sorted by title or field or mathematics. You can also view a random page.

You can also view a slideshow on the Math Images website sorted by field, by clicking on the slideshow tab that is at the top of nearly every page on the site.

Searching for Specific Content

To search for a specific image or mathematical content, enter a keyword(s) in the sidebar's search bar. Search results will return matches in the page title, the body text, and the name of the main image. It will even return metadata such as the field of mathematics (if ever entered by the creator) and the filenames of images.

Anatomy of a page

Image pages are structured using a template that facilitates easy browsing and learning. Every page has a main image in the top right corner, along with a caption describing the origin of the image and the field of mathematics to which the image relates. On the left side of the image, there is usually a small paragraph explaining the basic ideas underlying the image.

Next comes the main body of the page with a content box to facilitate easy navigation. The default template for pages consists of the eight sections shown as the main items in the example table of contents shown below, though pages can omit or add sections. Here's the breakdown for the Compass & Straightedge Construction and the Impossible Constructions page:

Image:Content.png
1. Basic DescriptionThis section gives an introduction to the page so as to give the reader an idea of what to expect and what topics are being covered. It can give a brief discussion about some rigorous math that will be explained later on, or it can give some interesting questions or facts relating to the main image. This section is fully understandable for the average reader. Depending on the page, it may simply get the readers curious to read on, or it may provide a satisfying experience in its own right.
2. A More Mathematical ExplanationThis section is hidden by default to make the pages more user friendly. It gives a mathematical explanation of the topics relating to the image. It usually starts with a simple ideas and gradually introduces new and harder concepts. This is the section in which equations and special mathematical symbols and terminology are used to help explain ideas. Sometimes, derivations of formulas and proofs of theorems are given, but they are hidden by default so as to keep the page less sprawling and navigationally friendly.
3. Why It's InterestingThis section usually does not give explanations that use much formal mathematics. Most of the time, it provides curious and interesting facts, applications, related puzzles, and historical anecdotes relating to the main images. Even if a reader has not leaned much in the More Mathematical Section, it's still possible to learn something interesting from this section.
4. Teaching MaterialsThis section is for teacher and tutors to share lesson plans and materials relating to certain topic. Right now, this section is unemployed, but this will hopefully change soon!
5. About the Creator of this ImageThis section gives information about the person who created the images in the page or the software they used.
6. Related LinksThis section gives links for further learning.
7. NotesThis section contains the shortened footnotes in the page.
8. ReferencesThis section contains all the literature that is cited or referred to in the page. They are in APA style.

Commenting on, editing, and creating pages

All users of the Math Images website are encouraged to contribute their ideas and knowledge by leaving feedback on pages, editing a page or creating a new one.

Commenting on pages:

Each page on the Math Images website has an associated discussion page, where any user can join a conversation discussing thoughts about and suggestions for the page. If you have feedback or a thought about a page you want to share, your participation in the conversation is appreciated. Leaving a comment is quick and easy. See Page Building Help to learn how.

Editing pages:

Most pages on the Math Images website are fully editable by any user. While large-scale revisions of a page are major projects, making a small change can take as little as 1 to 2 minutes.

If you see a way, big or small, that you would like to improve a page, see the Page Building Help page to learn how to edit pages.

Creating pages:

New page contributions are greatly appreciated. All you need to begin is:

  • a topic that interests you and an associated image that you find compelling OR an image you find compelling and some mathematics behind it that you find interesting
  • a little bit (or a lot) to say about the mathematics and the image you have chosen
  • knowing who created the image and at least one field of mathematics your page is about.

If you have an idea for a page, or if you would like to create a page that other Math Images users have proposed, see the Page Building Help page to learn how to begin a new page.

Other aspects of the Math Images Project

There are a number of other ways to contribute to or learn from the Math Images Project, beyond reading, writing, and commenting on pages.

These include:

  • Participating in discussions with peers about mathematics or computer science, encountered on this site or elsewhere
  • Using the website in the context of a math class (as a student or teacher)
  • Thinking about improving the website as a whole

Links to pages that allow you to participate in any of these ways can be found at the Help Page.

Tabs and sidebar

There is a common side-bar on the left-hand side and a common set of tabs along the top of most pages on the Math Images site.

Tabs

In addition to the typical MediaWiki tabs, our wiki has some extra tabs. Here is a description of the special tabs our site has:

  • The 'slideshow' tab, which brings a slideshow over the page you are currently viewing (see the list below, under Browsing the Images, for more information on using the slideshow)
  • The 'ask dr. math' tab, which lets you ask Dr. Math Images questions about any math images you have problems understanding, and also contains answers to previous questions asked about the math image of the page you're on
  • The 'edit with form' tab, which allows users to easily edit pages that use forms to create the page (such as our math image pages)
  • The 'refresh' tab refreshes the page you are on

Sidebar

The sidebar on the left-hand side of almost every page on the Math Images site has links to help you navigate the site. Items are grouped by general goal (finding image pages, contributing content, etc.). You can click on ... for further explanation of any of the items, or you can see Sidebar Help.

Further Questions?

The Help Page is the central place for finding answers to any questions you might have about this site. You can also go to FAQ.

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