Gauss Map

(Differential Geometry)

Logo of Gauss map
Differential Geometry
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What is Gauss map?

In differential geometry, the Gauss map (named after Carl F. Gauss) maps a surface in Euclidean space R3 to the unit sphere S2. Namely, given a surface X lying in R3, the Gauss map is a continuous map N: X → S2 such that N(p) is a unit vector orthogonal to X at p, namely the normal vector to X at p. The Gauss map can be defined (globally) if and only if the surface is orientable, in which case its degree is half the Euler characteristic. The Gauss map can always be defined locally (i.e. on a small piece of the surface). The Jacobian determinant of the Gauss map is equal to Gaussian curvature, and the differential of the Gauss map is called the shape operator. Gauss first wrote a draft on the topic in 1825 and published in 1827. There is also a Gauss map for a link, which computes linking number.

Technology Types

carl friedrich gausdifferential geometrydifferential geometry of surfaceriemannian geometrysurface


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