I found this nice website while looking around the website of a community college in Maine. The Famous Curves Index (published by a school of mathematics in Scotland) has 63 famous curves complete with equations, graphs (like this nice one of Fermat’s Spiral below), a short history of the curve, and a link to interactive Java code for manipulating the curve.

This one is the interactive Java code for a Hypocycloid (given by a parametric equation)… very nice!

What a great resource for Precalculus and Calculus classes. I will have to pull up some of these curves next week when we talk about implicit differentiation. If you’re teaching parametric equations or polar equations, this site would be great! I didn’t have any trouble getting the Java applets to work. Kudos to the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Scotland for a great collection of curves!