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These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations

Illustration for article titled These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations

WolframAlpha has compiled a growing list of portraits of iconic figures drawn by parametric functions. Some of them are surprisingly good – though, as Joe Hanson points out, there's a decent chance these functions are being churned out by a computer instead of an actual person, seeing as they are OBSCENELY complex. (Here are the parametric equations for the Einstein curve pictured up top, plotted for t from 0 to 152π. Yeah, have fun expressing those curves on your own.)

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As of this posting, the list contains 142 named curves, though we wouldn't be surprised if more popped up in the future. We've grabbed a few of our favorites and included them below, but you can check out the whole collection over at WolframAlpha.

Illustration for article titled These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations
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Illustration for article titled These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations
Illustration for article titled These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations
Illustration for article titled These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations
Illustration for article titled These portraits were drawn with mathematical equations
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DISCUSSION

ChristopherKellen
ChristopherKellen

Following the links through to StackExchange, the commenters there seem to think that these are probably someone tracing the images and then having a computer spit out the function that produces the image, since some of these functions are literally pages long when written out.

It's definitely cool to think that these sorts of images can be expressed as functions, but it sort of deflated the mystery a bit to think that some schmoe probably just traced famous photos and then had a lab computer spit out an algorithm...