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Browse High School Definitions

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Algebra Terms: 'Evaluate' and 'Simplify' [7/30/1996]
What do the terms "evaluate" and "simplify" mean in expressions like "evaluate 3-{2-3(2-7)}" or "simplify -3x{7-(3x-5)}"?

All About Functions [11/06/1996]
Could you please explain functions?

Are Negatives Factors of Other Numbers? [07/16/2003]
Are negative numbers factors of other numbers? Is -3 a factor of 3? Is -3 a multiple of 3?

Blown Out of Proportion at Zero? [09/22/2016]
An adult struggles with what proportionality implies at (0, 0). Doctor Peterson clarifies the proper scope of the term — and troubleshoots her original definition.

Derivatives [10/28/1996]
What is a derivative?

Difference between a Sequence and a Series [01/05/2003]
If 45, 25, 5... is an example of a sequence, could you give me an example of a series?

Differentiation [05/17/1998]
I'm trying to find a GOOD definition for "differentiation."

Explementary Angles [05/29/2003]
What do we call two angles that add up to 360 degrees?

Exp, Log, and Ln Functions Explained [7/31/1996]
What is the exp function? When is it needed? Also, how do I calculate Log and Ln functions with basic arithmetic and logic?

Horizontal and Vertical Asymptotes [12/5/1995]
I am confused about horizontal and vertical asymptotes. Please tell me how to find them, and their definition.

Information About Topology [11/12/1996]
Where can I learn more about topology?

Millimeters, Inches, Feet, Miles [07/10/2003]
The conversions given for millimeters to inches is 25.4, and for feet to miles is 5280. Are these numbers exact?

Modular Forms and Elliptic Curves: Taniyama-Shimura [10/30/1997]
I watched a PBS show on Fermat's last theorem and they kept talking about modular forms and elliptic curves and how they are related. What are they, and how so they relate to one another?

Nomographs [06/12/2003]
What are nomographs used for? How does one use them? Are they still in use? and last but not least, How are they constructed?

The Number e [6/3/1996]
Is "e" a number like Pi? How does "e" relate to continued fractions?

Percent vs. Percentage [08/17/2002]
What's the difference between percent and percentage?

Theorem or Postulate? [11/03/2002]
Shouldn't the three triangle postulates - SSS, ASA, and SAS - be theorems?

Unions and Intersections [2/9/1995]
In my text, there are these upside-down horseshoe looking things, and there is no explanation of what they are or why they exist...

What is a Quadratic Equation? [08/04/1997]
What is a quadratic equation? What is it used for? How can we use it to solve everyday problems?

What is Calculus? [05/06/1997]
What is calculus and how does it work?

What is Slope? [9/2/1996]
What is a slope, and if given a slope = n equation, how do you apply that slope number to another graph problem?

0 Raised to a Power [04/25/2002]
What is the limit of 0^n as n approaches infinity? Can you explain why it equals zero or why it can't equal zero, or if it's undefined?

The Algebra of Complements and Supplements [01/25/1999]
What are complements and supplements? How do you translate these concepts into algebra?

Alternate Exterior Angles [06/03/2002]
What is an 'alternate exterior angle'?

Ambiguity or Flexibility? [10/22/2003]
It seems that sometimes we use the not-equal sign to state an absolute inequality (two expressions always have a different value), and sometimes we just mean to say that two expressions are not always equal. Can you please clarify this apparent ambiguity? How do we know which meaning is being used?

Area and Perimeter: Isoperimetric Quotient [12/05/2001]
What is the isoperimetric quotient of a two-dimensional shape? Is it a measure of compression?

Are Angles Dimensionless? [08/31/2003]
If you look at the dimensions in the equation arc length = r*theta, it appears that angles must be dimensionless. But this can't be right. Or can it?

Are These Properties of Real Numbers? [04/22/2002]
(a*b)/a=b; a-(-b)=a+b; -a/-b=a/b; a+(-b)=a-b; a^b*a^c=a^(b+c). They all seem so intuitive we feel they must be properties.

Arithmetic vs. Exponential Increases [05/06/1999]
What does "....the work produced... will increase exponentially rather than arithmetically" mean?

Azimuth Angle [09/08/1998]
Can you give me the formula for the azimuth angle and explain some of the terminology?

Boolean Numbers [04/01/2003]
Our C Programming course said a Boolean number was a number that was either true or false. I'm not sure what a true or false number is.

Bounded Set [06/24/2003]
Let S be a set of real numbers. Prove that the following are equivalent: (a) S is bounded, i.e. there exists a number M greater than 0 such that abs(x) is less than or equal to M for every x in S; (b) S has an upper bound and lower bound.

Bound to Confuse [08/07/2017]
An adult wonders about the usefulness of the upper bound and lower bound theorems. After clarifying their scope, Doctor Peterson delves further into what conclusions these do allow, and what they do not.

Can a Circle be a Polygon? [5/22/1996]
Could a circle be considered a polygon with an infinite number of sides?

Ceiling and Floor Function Notation [11/16/2002]
What is the symbol to replace 'integer round-up' ?

Centroid, Circumcenter, Incenter, Orthocenter: Etymologies [01/20/2002]
Why are the points centroid, circumcenter, orthocenter, and incenter named as they are, and are there any other special points associated with triangles?

Circumference vs. Perimeter [05/09/2003]
Technically speaking, can the term 'perimeter' apply to a circle in a mathematical context?

A Closer Look at the Definition of Median [08/14/2008]
If you have five numbers like 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, the median or middle number is 300. How does this divide the set of numbers into two equal groups?

Coefficients beyond Constants, and in Context [03/24/2014]
A teen from abroad struggles with whether the term "coefficients" might apply to variables as well as constants. Doctors Ian and Peterson show the importance of context to a word's meaning.

Combinatorics: Ramsey Theory [01/12/1998]
Could you help me with a detailed explanation of the theory and a concrete example?

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