1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Locus

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LOCUS (Lat. for "place"; in Gr. τόπος), a geometrical term, the invention of the notion of which is attributed to Plato. It occurs in such statements as these: the locus of the points which are at the same distance from a fixed point, or of a point which moves so as to be always at the same distance from a fixed point, is a circle; conversely a circle is the locus of the points at the same distance from a fixed point, or of a point moving so as to be always at the same distance from a fixed point; and so in general a curve of any given kind is the locus of the points which satisfy, or of a point moving so as always to satisfy, a given condition. The theory of loci is thus identical with that of curves (see Curve and Geometry: §Analytical). The notion of a locus applies also to solid geometry. Here the locus of the points satisfying a single (or onefold) condition is a surface; the locus of the points satisfying two conditions (or a twofold condition) is a curve in space, which is in general a twisted curve or curve of double curvature.