When plotting the familiar elementary functions like x2 or exp(x), we only see whatever part of the infinitely long curve fits in the plot window. What if we could see the entire curve at once?
The double-tanh scale can help with that. The function u = tanh(x) is a diffeomorphism of the real line onto the interval (-1, 1). Its inverse, arctanh or artanh or arth or or , whatever you prefer to call it, does the opposite. So, conjugating any function by the hyperbolic tangent produces a function which we can plot in its entirety. Let’s try this.
Out of linear functions y = kx, only y=x and y=-x remain lines.
The powers of x, from 1 to 4, look mostly familiar:
Sine, cosine, and tangent functions are not periodic anymore:
The exponential function looks concave instead of convex, although I don’t recommend trying to prove this by taking the second derivative of its tanh-conjugate.
The Gaussian loses its bell-shaped appearance and becomes suspiciously similar to a semicircle.
This raises the question: which function does appear as a perfect semi-circle of radius 1 on the tanh-tanh scale? Turns out, it is . Here it is shown in the normal coordinate system.