Hyperboloid model

Last updated
Red circular arc is geodesic in Poincare disk model; it projects to the brown geodesic on the green hyperboloid. HyperboloidProjection.png
Red circular arc is geodesic in Poincaré disk model; it projects to the brown geodesic on the green hyperboloid.
Animation of partial {7,3} hyperbolic tiling of the hyperboloid rotated into the Poincare perspective.

In geometry, the hyperboloid model, also known as the Minkowski model after Hermann Minkowski, is a model of n-dimensional hyperbolic geometry in which points are represented by the points on the forward sheet S+ of a two-sheeted hyperboloid in (n+1)-dimensional Minkowski space and m-planes are represented by the intersections of the (m+1)-planes in Minkowski space with S+. The hyperbolic distance function admits a simple expression in this model. The hyperboloid model of the n-dimensional hyperbolic space is closely related to the Beltrami–Klein model and to the Poincaré disk model as they are projective models in the sense that the isometry group is a subgroup of the projective group.


Minkowski quadratic form

If (x0, x1, ..., xn) is a vector in the (n + 1)-dimensional coordinate space Rn+1, the Minkowski quadratic form is defined to be

The vectors vRn+1 such that Q(v) = 1 form an n-dimensional hyperboloid S consisting of two connected components, or sheets: the forward, or future, sheet S+, where x0>0 and the backward, or past, sheet S, where x0<0. The points of the n-dimensional hyperboloid model are the points on the forward sheet S+.

The Minkowski bilinear form B is the polarization of the Minkowski quadratic form Q,


The hyperbolic distance between two points u and v of S+ is given by the formula

where arcosh is the inverse function of hyperbolic cosine.

Straight lines

A straight line in hyperbolic n-space is modeled by a geodesic on the hyperboloid. A geodesic on the hyperboloid is the (non-empty) intersection of the hyperboloid with a two-dimensional linear subspace (including the origin) of the n+1-dimensional Minkowski space. If we take u and v to be basis vectors of that linear subspace with

and use w as a real parameter for points on the geodesic, then

will be a point on the geodesic. [1]

More generally, a k-dimensional "flat" in the hyperbolic n-space will be modeled by the (non-empty) intersection of the hyperboloid with a k+1-dimensional linear subspace (including the origin) of the Minkowski space.


The indefinite orthogonal group O(1,n), also called the (n+1)-dimensional Lorentz group, is the Lie group of real (n+1)×(n+1) matrices which preserve the Minkowski bilinear form. In a different language, it is the group of linear isometries of the Minkowski space. In particular, this group preserves the hyperboloid S. Recall that indefinite orthogonal groups have four connected components, corresponding to reversing or preserving the orientation on each subspace (here 1-dimensional and n-dimensional), and form a Klein four-group. The subgroup of O(1,n) that preserves the sign of the first coordinate is the orthochronous Lorentz group , denoted O+(1,n), and has two components, corresponding to preserving or reversing the orientation of the spatial subspace. Its subgroup SO+(1,n) consisting of matrices with determinant one is a connected Lie group of dimension n(n+1)/2 which acts on S+ by linear automorphisms and preserves the hyperbolic distance. This action is transitive and the stabilizer of the vector (1,0,...,0) consists of the matrices of the form

Where belongs to the compact special orthogonal group SO(n) (generalizing the rotation group SO(3) for n = 3). It follows that the n-dimensional hyperbolic space can be exhibited as the homogeneous space and a Riemannian symmetric space of rank 1,

The group SO+(1,n) is the full group of orientation-preserving isometries of the n-dimensional hyperbolic space.

In more concrete terms, SO+(1,n) can be split into n(n-1)/2 rotations (formed with a regular Euclidean rotation matrix in the lower-right block) and n hyperbolic translations, which take the form

where is the distance translated (along the x axis in this case), and the 2nd row/column can be exchanged with a different pair to change to a translation along a different axis. The general form of a translation in 3 dimensions along the vector is:

where .

This extends naturally to more dimensions, and is also the simplified version of a Lorentz boost when you remove the relativity-specific terms.

Examples of groups of isometries

The group of all isometries of the hyperboloid model is O+(1,n). Any group of isometries is a subgroup of it.


For two points , there is a unique reflection exchanging them.

Let . Note that , and therefore .


is a reflection that exchanges and . This is equivalent to the following matrix:

(note the use of block matrix notation).

Then is a group of isometries. All such subgroups are conjugate.

Rotations and reflections

is the group of rotations and reflections that preserve . The function is an isomorphism from O(n) to this group. For any point , if is an isometry that maps to , then is the group of rotations and reflections that preserve .


For any real number , there is a translation

This is a translation of distance in the positive x direction if or of distance in the negative x direction if . Any translation of distance is conjugate to and . The set is the group of translations through the x-axis, and a group of isometries is conjugate to it if and only if it is a group of isometries through a line.

For example, let's say we want to find the group of translations through a line . Let be an isometry that maps to and let be an isometry that fixes and maps to . An example of such a is a reflection exchanging and (assuming they are different), because they are both the same distance from . Then is an isometry mapping to and a point on the positive x-axis to . is a translation through the line of distance . If , it is in the direction. If , it is in the direction. is the group of translations through .

Symmetries of horospheres

Let H be some horosphere such that points of the form are inside of it for arbitrarily large x. For any vector b in

is a hororotation that maps H to itself. The set of such hororotations is the group of hororotations preserving H. All hororotations are conjugate to each other.

For any in O(n-1)

is a rotation or reflection that preserves H and the x-axis. These hororotations, rotations, and reflections generate the group of symmetries of H. The symmetry group of any horosphere is conjugate to it. They are isomorphic to the Euclidean group E(n-1).


In several papers between 1878-1885, Wilhelm Killing [2] [3] [4] used the representation he attributed to Karl Weierstrass for Lobachevskian geometry. In particular, he discussed quadratic forms such as or in arbitrary dimensions , where is the reciprocal measure of curvature, denotes Euclidean geometry, elliptic geometry, and hyperbolic geometry.

According to Jeremy Gray (1986), [5] Poincaré used the hyperboloid model in his personal notes in 1880. Poincaré published his results in 1881, in which he discussed the invariance of the quadratic form . [6] Gray shows where the hyperboloid model is implicit in later writing by Poincaré. [7]

Also Homersham Cox in 1882 [8] [9] used Weierstrass coordinates (without using this name) satisfying the relation as well as .

Further exposure of the model was given by Alfred Clebsch and Ferdinand Lindemann in 1891 discussing the relation and . [10]

Weierstrass coordinates were also used by Gérard (1892), [11] Felix Hausdorff (1899), [12] Frederick S. Woods (1903)], [13] Heinrich Liebmann (1905). [14]

The hyperboloid was explored as a metric space by Alexander Macfarlane in his Papers in Space Analysis (1894). He noted that points on the hyperboloid could be written as

where α is a basis vector orthogonal to the hyperboloid axis. For example, he obtained the hyperbolic law of cosines through use of his Algebra of Physics. [1]

H. Jansen made the hyperboloid model the explicit focus of his 1909 paper "Representation of hyperbolic geometry on a two sheeted hyperboloid". [15] In 1993 W.F. Reynolds recounted some of the early history of the model in his article in the American Mathematical Monthly. [16]

Being a commonplace model by the twentieth century, it was identified with the Geschwindigkeitsvectoren (velocity vectors) by Hermann Minkowski in his 1907 Göttingen lecture 'The Relativity Principle'. Scott Walter, in his 1999 paper "The Non-Euclidean Style of Minkowskian Relativity" [17] recalls Minkowski's awareness, but traces the lineage of the model to Hermann Helmholtz rather than Weierstrass and Killing.

In the early years of relativity the hyperboloid model was used by Vladimir Varićak to explain the physics of velocity. In his speech to the German mathematical union in 1912 he referred to Weierstrass coordinates. [18]

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 Alexander Macfarlane (1894) Papers on Space Analysis , B. Westerman, New York, weblink from archive.org
  2. Killing, W. (1878) [1877]. "Ueber zwei Raumformen mit constanter positiver Krümmung". Journal für die Reine und Angewandte Mathematik. 86: 72–83.
  3. Killing, W. (1880) [1879]. "Die Rechnung in den Nicht-Euklidischen Raumformen". Journal für die Reine und Angewandte Mathematik. 89: 265–287.
  4. Killing, W. (1885). Die nicht-euklidischen Raumformen. Leipzig.
  5. Linear differential equations and group theory from Riemann to Poincaré (pages 271,2)
  6. Poincaré, H. (1881). "Sur les applications de la géométrie non-euclidienne à la théorie des formes quadratiques" (PDF). Association Française Pour l'Avancement des Sciences. 10: 132–138.
  7. See also Poincaré: On the fundamental hypotheses of geometry 1887 Collected works vol.11, 71-91 and referred to in the book of B.A. Rosenfeld A History of Non-Euclidean Geometry p.266 in English version (Springer 1988).
  8. Cox, H. (1881). "Homogeneous coordinates in imaginary geometry and their application to systems of forces". The Quarterly Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics. 18 (70): 178–192.
  9. Cox, H. (1882) [1881]. "Homogeneous coordinates in imaginary geometry and their application to systems of forces (continued)". The Quarterly Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics. 18 (71): 193–215.
  10. Lindemann, F. (1891) [1890]. Vorlesungen über Geometrie von Clebsch II. Leipzig. p.  524.
  11. Gérard, L. (1892). Sur la géométrie non-Euclidienne. Paris: Gauthier-Villars.
  12. Hausdorff, F. (1899). "Analytische Beiträge zur nichteuklidischen Geometrie". Leipziger Math.-Phys. Berichte. 51: 161–214. hdl:2027/hvd.32044092889328.
  13. Woods, F. S. (1905) [1903]. "Forms of non-Euclidean space". The Boston Colloquium: Lectures on Mathematics for the Year 1903: 31–74.
  14. Liebmann, H. (1905) [1904]. Nichteuklidische Geometrie. Leipzig: Göschen.
  15. Abbildung hyperbolische Geometrie auf ein zweischaliges Hyperboloid Mitt. Math. Gesellsch Hamburg 4:409440.
  16. Reynolds, William F. (1993) "Hyperbolic geometry on a hyperboloid", American Mathematical Monthly 100:44255, Jstor link
  17. Walter, Scott A. (1999), "The non-Euclidean style of Minkowskian relativity", in J. Gray (ed.), The Symbolic Universe: Geometry and Physics 1890-1930, Oxford University Press, pp. 91–127
  18. Varićak, V. (1912), "On the Non-Euclidean Interpretation of the Theory of Relativity"  , Jahresbericht der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung, 21: 103–127

Related Research Articles

In mathematics, de Moivre's formula states that for any real number x and integer n it holds that

Hyperboloid Unbounded quadric surface

In geometry, a hyperboloid of revolution, sometimes called a circular hyperboloid, is the surface generated by rotating a hyperbola around one of its principal axes. A hyperboloid is the surface obtained from a hyperboloid of revolution by deforming it by means of directional scalings, or more generally, of an affine transformation.

Four-vector Vector in special relativity well-behaved with respect to Lorentz transformations

In special relativity, a four-vector is an object with four components, which transform in a specific way under Lorentz transformation. Specifically, a four-vector is an element of a four-dimensional vector space considered as a representation space of the standard representation of the Lorentz group, the representation. It differs from a Euclidean vector in how its magnitude is determined. The transformations that preserve this magnitude are the Lorentz transformations, which include spatial rotations and boosts.

Minkowski space Four-dimensional, pseudo-Euclidean spacetime used in theory of relativity

In mathematical physics, Minkowski space is a combination of three-dimensional Euclidean space and time into a four-dimensional manifold where the spacetime interval between any two events is independent of the inertial frame of reference in which they are recorded. Although initially developed by mathematician Hermann Minkowski for Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism, the mathematical structure of Minkowski spacetime was shown to be implied by the postulates of special relativity.

Lorentz group Lie group of Lorentz transformations

In physics and mathematics, the Lorentz group is the group of all Lorentz transformations of Minkowski spacetime, the classical and quantum setting for all (non-gravitational) physical phenomena. The Lorentz group is named for the Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz.

Hyperbolic geometry Non-Euclidean geometry

In mathematics, hyperbolic geometry is a non-Euclidean geometry. The parallel postulate of Euclidean geometry is replaced with:

In mathematics, conformal geometry is the study of the set of angle-preserving (conformal) transformations on a space.

In mathematics and physics, n-dimensional anti-de Sitter space (AdSn) is a maximally symmetric Lorentzian manifold with constant negative scalar curvature. Anti-de Sitter space and de Sitter space are named after Willem de Sitter (1872–1934), professor of astronomy at Leiden University and director of the Leiden Observatory. Willem de Sitter and Albert Einstein worked together closely in Leiden in the 1920s on the spacetime structure of the universe.

Hyperbolic space Non-Euclidean geometry

In mathematics, a hyperbolic space is a homogeneous space that has a constant negative curvature, where in this case the curvature is the sectional curvature. It is hyperbolic geometry in more than 2 dimensions, and is distinguished from Euclidean spaces with zero curvature that define Euclidean geometry, and elliptic spaces that have a constant positive curvature.

Poincaré half-plane model Upper-half plane model of hyperbolic non-Euclidean geometry

In non-Euclidean geometry, the Poincaré half-plane model is the upper half-plane, denoted below as H, together with a metric, the Poincaré metric, that makes it a model of two-dimensional hyperbolic geometry.

In abstract algebra, a split complex number has two real number components x and y, and is written z = x + yj, where j2 = 1. The conjugate of z is z = xyj. Since j2 = 1, the product of a number z with its conjugate is zz = x2y2, an isotropic quadratic form, N(z) = x2y2.

Hyperbolic angle

In mathematics, a hyperbolic angle is a geometric figure that defines a hyperbolic sector. The relationship of a hyperbolic angle to a hyperbola parallels the relationship of an "ordinary" angle to a circle.

In abstract algebra, the biquaternions are the numbers w + xi + yj + zk, where w, x, y, and z are complex numbers, or variants thereof, and the elements of {1, i, j, k} multiply as in the quaternion group and commute with their coefficients. There are three types of biquaternions corresponding to complex numbers and the variations thereof:

In abstract algebra, the split-quaternions or coquaternions form an algebraic structure introduced by James Cockle in 1849 under the latter name. They form an associative algebra of dimension four over the real numbers.

In mathematics, a function of a motor variable is a function with arguments and values in the split-complex number plane, much as functions of a complex variable involve ordinary complex numbers. William Kingdon Clifford coined the term motor for a kinematic operator in his "Preliminary Sketch of Biquaternions" (1873). He used split-complex numbers for scalars in his split-biquaternions. Motor variable is used here in place of split-complex variable for euphony and tradition.

In relativity, rapidity is commonly used as a measure for relativistic velocity. Mathematically, rapidity can be defined as the hyperbolic angle that differentiates two frames of reference in relative motion, each frame being associated with distance and time coordinates.

Beltrami–Klein model

In geometry, the Beltrami–Klein model, also called the projective model, Klein disk model, and the Cayley–Klein model, is a model of hyperbolic geometry in which points are represented by the points in the interior of the unit disk and lines are represented by the chords, straight line segments with ideal endpoints on the boundary sphere.

Elliptic coordinate system

In geometry, the elliptic coordinate system is a two-dimensional orthogonal coordinate system in which the coordinate lines are confocal ellipses and hyperbolae. The two foci and are generally taken to be fixed at and , respectively, on the -axis of the Cartesian coordinate system.

Unit hyperbola Geometric figure

In geometry, the unit hyperbola is the set of points (x,y) in the Cartesian plane that satisfy the implicit equation In the study of indefinite orthogonal groups, the unit hyperbola forms the basis for an alternative radial length

Poincaré disk model Model of hyperbolic geometry

In geometry, the Poincaré disk model, also called the conformal disk model, is a model of 2-dimensional hyperbolic geometry in which the points of the geometry are inside the unit disk, and the straight lines consist of all circular arcs contained within that disk that are orthogonal to the boundary of the disk, plus all diameters of the disk.