Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In geometry, the curve of intersection of any surface with a plane indefinitely near and parallel to the tangent-plane at any point. The indicatrix is a hyperbola, a pair of parallel lines, or an ellipse, according as the surface is anticlastic, cylindrical, or synclastic, at the point of tangency.
- n. In the theory of equations, a curve which exhibits the joint effect of the two middle criteria of Newton's rule, in the case of an equation of the fifth degree having all its roots imaginary.
- n. In crystallography, a surface, in general (for a biaxial crystal) an ellipsoid having axes proportional to the principal refractive indexes, whose geometrical characters serve to exhibit the optical relations of the crystal: for a uniaxial crystal the surface becomes a spheroid and for an isotropic crystal a sphere. The indicatrix bears a simple relation to Fresnel's ellipsoid the axes of which are proportional to the reciprocals of the refractive indexes, that is, directly preportional to the light-velocities in the given axial direction.
L. Fletcher, The Optical indicatrix, London, 1892.
- n. mathematics, crystallography An ellipsoid whose three axes represent the refractive indices of an anisotropic crystal for light following different directions with respect to the crystal axes
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Geom. of Three Dimensions) A certain conic section supposed to be drawn in the tangent plane to any surface, and used to determine the accidents of curvature of the surface at the point of contact. The curve is similar to the intersection of the surface with a parallel to the tangent plane and indefinitely near it. It is an ellipse when the curvature is synclastic, and an hyperbola when the curvature is anticlastic.
“Quality of a surface such that - by specular reflection or an acute reflection indicatrix - it shows bright reflected lights or the reflected pictures of bright things.”
“In 1813 he published a pamphlet, "Développement de géométrie pour faire suite à la géométrie pratique de Monge" (Paris, 1813, containing many new and brilliant theories, the most important of which were one relating to the indicatrix of curved surfaces and another on orthogonal surfaces.”
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