This rather striking image is the imaginary part of the Airy function. Rather than a lot of words today, I’d like to just present this mathematical function as art.
I’ve always disagreed with Whitman in his assessment of science, but it is nonetheless a good thing to occasionally look up in silence at the stars – or function plots.
WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.