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In geometry we learn about how the sides of polygons relate to the angles in the polygons, but we have not learned how to calculate an angle if we only know the lengths of the sides. Trigonometry (pronounced: trig-oh-nom-eh-tree) deals with the relationship between the angles and the sides of a right-angled triangle. We will learn about trigonometric functions, which form the basis of trigonometry.

Investigation : history of trigonometry

Work in pairs or groups and investigate the history of the foundation of trigonometry. Describe the various stages of development and how the following cultures used trigonometry to improve their lives.

The works of the following people or cultures can be investigated:

  1. Cultures
    1. Ancient Egyptians
    2. Mesopotamians
    3. Ancient Indians of the Indus Valley
  2. People
    1. Lagadha (circa 1350-1200 BC)
    2. Hipparchus (circa 150 BC)
    3. Ptolemy (circa 100)
    4. Aryabhata (circa 499)
    5. Omar Khayyam (1048-1131)
    6. Bhaskara (circa 1150)
    7. Nasir al-Din (13th century)
    8. al-Kashi and Ulugh Beg (14th century)
    9. Bartholemaeus Pitiscus (1595)

Interesting fact

You should be familiar with the idea of measuring angles from geometry but have you ever stopped to think why there are 360 degrees in a circle? The reason is purely historical. There are 360 degrees in a circle because the ancient Babylonians had a number system with base 60. A base is the number at which you add another digit when you count. The number system that we use everyday is called the decimal system (the base is 10), but computers use the binary system (the base is 2). 360 = 6 × 60 so for them it made sense to have 360 degrees in a circle.

Where trigonometry is used

There are many applications of trigonometry. Of particular value is the technique of triangulation, which is used in astronomy to measure the distance to nearby stars, in geography to measure distances between landmarks, and in satellite navigation systems. GPSs (global positioning systems) would not be possible without trigonometry. Other fields which make use of trigonometry include astronomy (and hence navigation, on the oceans, in aircraft, and in space), music theory, acoustics, optics, analysis of financial markets, electronics, probability theory, statistics, biology, medical imaging (CAT scans and ultrasound), pharmacy, chemistry, number theory (and hence cryptology), seismology, meteorology, oceanography, many physical sciences, land surveying and geodesy, architecture, phonetics, economics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer graphics, cartography, crystallography and game development.

Discussion : uses of trigonometry

Select one of the fields that uses trigonometry from the list given above and write a 1-page report describing how trigonometry is used in the field that you chose.

Similarity of triangles

If A B C is similar to D E F , then this is written as:

A B C ||| D E F

Then, it is possible to deduce ratios between corresponding sides of the two triangles, such as the following:

A B B C = D E E F A B A C = D E D F A C B C = D F E F A B D E = B C E F = A C D F

The most important fact about similar triangles A B C and D E F is that the angle at vertex A is equal to the angle at vertex D, the angle at B is equal to the angle at E, and the angle at C is equal to the angle at F.

A = D B = E C = F

Investigation : ratios of similar triangles

In your exercise book, draw three similar triangles of different sizes, but each with A ^ = 30 ; B ^ = 90 and C ^ = 60 . Measure angles and lengths very accurately in order to fill in the table below (round answers to one decimal place).

Dividing lengths of sides (Ratios)
A B B C = A B A C = C B A C =
A ' B ' B ' C ' = A ' B ' A ' C ' = C ' B ' A ' C ' =
A ' ' B ' ' B ' ' C ' ' = A ' ' B ' ' A ' ' C ' ' = C ' ' B ' ' A ' ' C ' ' =

What observations can you make about the ratios of the sides?

These equal ratios are used to define the trigonometric functions.

Note: In algebra, we often use the letter x for our unknown variable (although we can use any other letter too, such as a , b , k , etc). In trigonometry, we often use the Greek symbol θ for an unknown angle (we also use α , β , γ etc).

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 maths [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11306/1.4
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