Geometry (Greek γεωμετρία; geo = earth, metria = measure) is a part of mathematics concerned with questions of size, shape, and relative position of figures and with properties of space. Geometry is one of the oldest sciences. Initially a body of practical knowledge concerning lengths, areas, and volumes, in the third century B.C., geometry was put into an axiomatic form by Euclid, whose treatment - Euclidean geometry - set a standard for many centuries to follow. The field of astronomy, especially mapping the positions of the stars and planets on the celestial sphere, served as an important source of geometric problems during the next one and a half millennia.
Introduction of coordinates by René Descartes and the concurrent development of algebra marked a new stage for geometry, since geometric figures, such as plane curves, could now be represented analytically, i.e., with functions and equations. This played a key role in the emergence of calculus in the seventeenth century. Furthermore, the theory of perspective showed that there is more to geometry than just the metric properties of figures. The subject of geometry was further enriched by the study of intrinsic structure of geometric objects that originated with Euler and Gauss and led to the creation of topology and differential geometry.
Since the nineteenth century discovery of non-Euclidean geometry, the concept of space has undergone a radical transformation. Contemporary geometry considers manifolds, spaces that are considerably more abstract than the familiar Euclidean space, which they only approximately resemble at small scales. These spaces may be endowed with additional structure, allowing one to speak about length. Modern geometry has multiple strong bonds with physics, exemplified by the ties between Riemannian geometry and general relativity. One of the youngest physical theories, string theory, is also very geometric in flavour.
The visual nature of geometry makes it initially more accessible than other parts of mathematics, such as algebra or number theory. However, the geometric language is also used in contexts that are far removed from its traditional, Euclidean provenance, for example, in fractal geometry, and especially in algebraic geometry.