Viewpoint: The Critical Commonness of Concavity

Ethan Walling

How do you eat soup? How do you drink water? How do you stir the sugar into your coffee? The answer to all of these questions is concavity. When most people hear that word they don’t even know what it means. For context, a concave object is one that has an inward curvature. Some common examples of concave objects are bowls, spoons and cups. However, despite its common nature, concavity is crucial to our success as human beings and people often overlook it.

Concavity is one of the most underrated technologies our species has invented. Where would we be without bowls? Many people would dismiss this argument as pointless because they myopically believe that ubiquitous objects do not deserve appreciation. People often take it for granted that they can securely put multiple objects in one space and that those objects will remain there. For example, it would be much more difficult to carry a group of marbles on a flat object than if you were to put them into a bowl. How would you hold water on a flat object? These are very common problems that could not be solved without a bowl, which would not exist without concavity.

Another tremendous use of concavity is in the creation of precise and accurate tools. The best thing about concavity is that it is directly related to calculus. Calculus is predictable. Therefore, concavity is predictable. Therefore, spoons, cups and bowls are predictable. Predictability is precision. Tools enabled by concavity are very useful in everyday life. You would not know how much sugar to put into your pancakes without a tablespoon. Furthermore, the utility of concavity goes far beyond the kitchen and into the science lab. Scientists use concavity when measuring liquids that play a role in the creation of vaccines. It would be foolish to discount the tools of scientists solely because of their commonness.

In case you need more evidence, we can approach the subject from another perspective, specifically, the opposite perspective. Convexity is the opposite of concavity. However, concavity and convexity are simply two sides of the same coin, or, in this case, two sides of the same bowl. Convexity is just as important as concavity. To be clear, convexity is synonymous with roundness. Now, think about balls. Many people in the world enjoy sports. Think about how many sports have the suffix “ball:” football, basketball, volleyball, tennis ball; the list goes on. All of these sports have immense significance in the world’s culture and history. Now, imagine those sports without balls: foot, basket, volley, tennis. That is what would happen if we did not have concavity. We would not have balls. 

In conclusion, many people overlook the importance of concavity (and convexity) because they see it everywhere they go. However, just because it is common does not mean that it is simple or replaceable by any means. Everything that has concavity has a very applicable purpose that, as a species, we would be lost without.

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