Imagine the graph of a function which was shaped like a saddle, or like two mountains connected by a mountain pass. Then the saddle point would be at the center of the seat, hence the name. Take a step in one direction, and you are going on an upward curve; take a step in another direction, and you are on a downward curve, but right at the saddle point the slope is zero.
Below, the saddle point is marked in red on the graph of x2 – y2. Notice this point is right at the origin.
Multiple Saddle Point Surfaces
A smooth surface which has one or more saddle points is called a saddle surface. The graph above would be an example of a saddle surface; as would a Pringles potato chip or the form of an ordinary saddle.
A classic three dimensional saddle surface is the monkey saddle, defined by z = x3 -3xy2 and pictured below. If the name seems a bit random, try imagining it as a saddle for a monkey, with a place for both legs and another place for the tail.
Kiffe, Tom. A Saddle Point. Calculus Visualizations. Calculus 3 Course Material. Retrieved from http://www.math.tamu.edu/~tom.kiffe/calc3/saddle/saddle.html on March 7, 2019
Stephanie Glen. "Saddle Point: Definition" From CalculusHowTo.com: Calculus for the rest of us! https://www.calculushowto.com/saddle-point/
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