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The shape, size, and other properties of figures and the nature of space are in the province of geometry. Euclidean geometry is concerned with the axiomatic study of polygons, conic sections, spheres, polyhedra, and related geometric objects in two and three dimensions-in particular, with the relations of congruence and of similarity between such objects. The unsuccessful attempt to prove the “parallel postulate” from the other axioms of Euclid led in the 19th cent. to the discovery of two different types of non-Euclidean geometry.

The 20th cent. has seen an enormous development of topology, which is the study of very general geometric objects, called topological spaces, with respect to relations that are much weaker than congruence and similarity. Other branches of geometry include algebraic geometry and differential geometry, in which the methods of analysis are brought to bear on geometric problems. These fields are now in a vigorous state of development.

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