A sphere is, roughly speaking, a ballshaped object. In mathematics, a sphere is a quadric consisting only of a surface and is therefore hollow. In nonmathematical usage a sphere is often considered to be solid; mathematicians call this the interior of the sphere.
More precisely, a sphere is the set of points in 3dimensional Euclidean space which are at distance r from a fixed point of that space, where r is a positive real number called the radius of the sphere.
In coordinate geometry a sphere with centre (x_{0}, y_{0}, z_{0}) and radius r is the set of all points (x,y,z) such that
The points on the sphere with radius r and center at the origin can be parametrized via
The surface area of a sphere of radius r is 4πr^{2}, and its volume is 4πr^{3}/3. The sphere has the smallest surface area among all surfaces enclosing a given volume and it encloses the largest volume among all closed surfaces with a given surface area. For this reason, the sphere appears in nature: for instance bubbles and water drops (in the absence of gravity) are spheres because the surface tension tries to minimize surface area.
The circumscribed cylinder for a given sphere has a volume which is 3/2 times the volume of the sphere. This fact, along with the volume and surface formulas given above, was already known to Archimedes.
A sphere can also be defined as the surface formed by rotating a circle about its diameter. If the circle is replaced by an ellipse, the shape becomes a spheroid.
Spheres can be generalized to other dimensions. For any natural number n, an nsphere is the set of points in (n+1)dimensional Euclidean space which are at distance r from a fixed point of that space, where r is, as before, a positive real number. A 2sphere is therefore an ordinary sphere, while a 1sphere is a circle and a 0sphere is a pair of points. The nsphere of unit radius centered at the origin is denoted S^{n} and is often referred to as "the" nsphere.
An nsphere is an example of a compact nmanifold.
See also:
Sphere Books was a British paperback publisher of the 1960s  1980s.
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