In mathematics, specifically in topology, a surface is a two-dimensional topological manifold. The most familiar examples are those that arise as the boundaries of solid objects in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space R3 — for example, the surface of a ball. On the other hand, there are surfaces, such as the Klein bottle, that cannot be embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space without introducing singularities or self-intersections.
To say that a surface is "two-dimensional" means that, about each point, there is a coordinate patch on which a two-dimensional coordinate system is defined. For example, the surface of the Earth is (ideally) a two-dimensional sphere, and latitude and longitude provide two-dimensional coordinates on it (except at the poles and along the 180th meridian).
The concept of surface finds application in physics, engineering, computer graphics, and many other disciplines, primarily in representing the surfaces of physical objects. For example, in analyzing the aerodynamic properties of an airplane, the central consideration is the flow of air along its surface.
Famous quotes containing the word surface:
“How easily it falls, how easily I let drift
On the surface of morning feathers of self-reproach:
How easily I disperse the scolding of snow.”
—Philip Larkin (19221986)
“Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)
“All forms of beauty, like all possible phenomena, contain an element of the eternal and an element of the transitoryof the absolute and of the particular. Absolute and eternal beauty does not exist, or rather it is only an abstraction creamed from the general surface of different beauties. The particular element in each manifestation comes from the emotions: and just as we have our own particular emotions, so we have our own beauty.”
—Charles Baudelaire (18211867)