# Gabriel's Horn

Athanasios Paraskevopoulos
on 23 Jul 2024 at 15:34

Gabriel's horn is a shape with the paradoxical property that it has infinite surface area, but a finite volume.

Gabriel’s horn is formed by taking the graph of with the domain and rotating it in three dimensions about the axis.

There is a standard formula for calculating the volume of this shape, for a general function .Wwe will just state that the volume of the solid between a and b is:

The surface area of the solid is given by:

One other thing we need to consider is that we are trying to find the value of these integrals between 1 and ∞. An integral with a limit of infinity is called an improper integral and we can't evaluate it simply by plugging the value infinity into the normal equation for a definite integral. Instead, we must first calculate the definite integral up to some finite limit b and then calculate the limit of the result as b tends to ∞:

Volume

We can calculate the horn's volume using the volume integral above, so

The total volume of this infinitely long trumpet isπ.

Surface Area

To determine the surface area, we first need the function’s derivative:

Now plug it into the surface area formula and we have:

This is an improper integral and it's hard to evaluate, but since in our interval

So, we have :

Now,we evaluate this last integral

So the surface are is infinite.

% Define the function for Gabriel's Horn

gabriels_horn = @(x) 1 ./ x;

% Create a range of x values

x = linspace(1, 40, 4000); % Increase the number of points for better accuracy

y = gabriels_horn(x);

% Create the meshgrid

theta = linspace(0, 2 * pi, 6000); % Increase theta points for a smoother surface

[X, T] = meshgrid(x, theta);

Y = gabriels_horn(X) .* cos(T);

Z = gabriels_horn(X) .* sin(T);

% Plot the surface of Gabriel's Horn

figure('Position', [200, 100, 1200, 900]);

surf(X, Y, Z, 'EdgeColor', 'none', 'FaceAlpha', 0.9);

hold on;

% Plot the central axis

plot3(x, zeros(size(x)), zeros(size(x)), 'r', 'LineWidth', 2);

% Set labels

xlabel('x');

ylabel('y');

zlabel('z');

% Adjust colormap and axis properties

colormap('gray');

shading interp; % Smooth shading

% Adjust the view

view(3);

axis tight;

grid on;

% Add formulas as text annotations

dim1 = [0.4 0.7 0.3 0.2];

annotation('textbox',dim1,'String',{'$$V = \pi \int_{1}^{a} \left( \frac{1}{x} \right)^2 dx = \pi \left( 1 - \frac{1}{a} \right)$$', ...

'', ... % Add an empty line for larger gap

'$$\lim_{a \to \infty} V = \lim_{a \to \infty} \pi \left( 1 - \frac{1}{a} \right) = \pi$$'}, ...

'Interpreter','latex','FontSize',12, 'EdgeColor','none', 'FitBoxToText', 'on');

dim2 = [0.4 0.5 0.3 0.2];

annotation('textbox',dim2,'String',{'$$A = 2\pi \int_{1}^{a} \frac{1}{x} \sqrt{1 + \left( -\frac{1}{x^2} \right)^2} dx > 2\pi \int_{1}^{a} \frac{dx}{x} = 2\pi \ln(a)$$', ...

'', ... % Add an empty line for larger gap

'$$\lim_{a \to \infty} A \geq \lim_{a \to \infty} 2\pi \ln(a) = \infty$$'}, ...

'Interpreter','latex','FontSize',12, 'EdgeColor','none', 'FitBoxToText', 'on');

% Add Gabriel's Horn label

dim3 = [0.3 0.9 0.3 0.1];

annotation('textbox',dim3,'String','Gabriel''s Horn', ...

'Interpreter','latex','FontSize',14, 'EdgeColor','none', 'HorizontalAlignment', 'center');

hold off

daspect([3.5 1 1]) % daspect([x y z])

view(-27, 15)

lightangle(-50,0)

lighting('gouraud')

The properties of this figure were first studied by Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli in the 17th century.

Acknowledgment

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who have supported and inspired me throughout this project.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the mathematician and my esteemed colleague, Stavros Tsalapatis, for inspiring me with the fascinating subject of Gabriel's Horn.

I am also deeply thankful to Mr. @Star Strider for his invaluable assistance in completing the final code.

References:

#### 1 Comment

Thank you for posting this interesting read.

I was introduced to Gabriel's horn decades ago and have always found it to be an interesting paradox.