Many well-known derivative curves present themselves in this manner; thus the variable curve may be the normal (or line at right angles to the tangent) at any point of the given curve; the intersection of the consecutive normals is the centre of curvature; and we have the evolute as at once the locus of the centre of curvature and the envelope of the normal.

Apollonius' genius takes its highest flight in Book v., where he treats of normals as minimum and maximum straight lines drawn from given points to the curve (independently of tangent properties), discusses how many normals can be drawn from particular points, finds their feet by construction, and gives propositions determining the centre of curvature at any point and leading at once to the Cartesian equation of the evolute of any conic.