Random Ramblings

#129 : G – Gaussian Curve

One topic of physics which I vividly remember. Back when I was in class 12, we didn’t have a stable physics teacher in our school. The subject was as cursed as Defence Against Dark Arts was from Harry Potter. No teacher lasted more than 3 months. I had to take up tuition to cope up with the subject.  A retired professor from a very reputed art college taught the subject in a dingy government school. He was a small man with an expanding middle. He was explaining Gaussian curve. In the enthusiasm of teaching, he went a bit beyond the syllabus and showed us 2-D curve. I couldn’t help but note the similarity between his physique and the curve. In fact, that’s how I managed to remember that complex topic. Every other time, this topic came up, I would burst out laughing. It took all the self control a 16 year old could muster to prevent laughing every time I saw him. Somehow, that diagram and his structure seemed way to funny to me back then. Looking back today, I wondered, if only I had paid proper attention to his enthusiastic teaching I would have possibly become an astronaut. Sigh!

G

So what’s this Gaussian Curve all about?

“In mathematics, a Gaussian function, often simply referred to as a Gaussian, is a function of the form:

f\left(x\right)=ae^{-{\frac {(x-b)^{2}}{2c^{2}}}}
for arbitrary real constants a, b and c. It is named after the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss.

The graph of a Gaussian is a characteristic symmetric “bell curve” shape. The parameter a is the height of the curve’s peak, b is the position of the center of the peak and c (the standard deviation, sometimes called the Gaussian RMS width) controls the width of the “bell”. “

The Gaussian equation is widely used in image processing and in solving heat equations in mathematics.

Studying something as complex as this, one needs an entertaining methodology to remember things. I had the right image to remember this concept!

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