2003-08-02

topology

HINT: It is not the study of high things.

The term means, literally, "science of place" (topo- + -logy).

Although the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) lists it as the third definition, the primary usage I encounter is this one:

The study of properties of figures and surfaces that are independant of size and shape (there are a couple of other technicalities having to do with homeomorphisms, but that's not important here).

In topology, the shape of a coffee cup (with a single handle) is equivalent to that of a donut (with a single hole in the middle).

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