At the start of the German Year of Mathematics, the Oberwolfach research institute has released an exhibition and the software they used to produce it. The software, surfer, is a really nice GUI that sits on top of surf and lets you rotate and zoom your algebraic surfaces as well as pick colours very comfortably.

They have a whole bunch of Really Pretty Images at the exhibition website, and I warmly recommend a visit. If you can get hold of the exhibition, they also have produced real models – with a 3d-printer – of some of the snazzier surfaces, so that one could have a REALLY close encounter with them.

But also, I’d really like to show you some of my own minor experiments with the program.

This is the interior of a Klein Bottle, using the “standard” realization as an algebraic surface given by Mathworld. In other words, I’m using

(x^2+y^2+z^2+2*y-1)*((x^2+y^2+z^2-2*y-1)^2-8*z^2)+16*x*z*(x^2+y^2+z^2-2*y-1)=0

for the defining equation. It kinda looks a bit like a Sousaphone in my opinion.