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### Math in the Real World

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Date: 2/19/96 at 9:2:54
From: Helder Caixinha
Subject: Mathematics and our lives

I would like to know some examples of mathematical applications in
the real world.  That is, mathematical concepts that we contact
every day for example in a newspaper,in TV....

With my best regards,

Paula Pires, high school teacher
```

```
Date: 6/21/96 at 9:42:28
From: Doctor Patrick
Subject: Re: Mathematics and our lives

Hi!  Here are some ways I can think of that math is used in real
life:

Area is used to figure out how much of something will be needed to
cover something else - how much wallpaper you need for your room,
how big a carpet will fit into the room,...

Volume is used in the same way, except for 3D objects - how much
water will fill a pool for example.

Trig functions are used all the time for navigation - including in
the space program.  They can also be used to figure out the height
of buildings (or trees, or mountains) by knowing how far you are
from the object and what the angle is from where you are on the
ground to the top of the object you want to measure.

*c
|\        If you know the distance (x) and the angle (y) you can
| \       find the height (h).  Since h/x=tan(y) you can plug in
h|  \      the numbers you know and solve for h.  This is very
|   \     useful for figuring out the height of object that might
|   y\    otherwise be too big, or awkward to measure otherwise.
------*   You can also use this to figure out how far you are
x      from someplace if you know how high it is.  I know
people who have used this when they go camping and
hiking.  They find out what the height of a large mountain near
where they are going to be is, and then using some math they can
always figure out how far from it they are to give them a sense
of direction.

Math is used all the time in accounting and banking and anything
else dealing with money.  Natural logs, for instance, are used in
calculating compound interest (although I can't really remember
how that works at the moment).

Math is used by train, boat, and plane companies to figure out how
long it will take to get somewhere at a given speed, and how much
time will be saved or lost because of the wind or water speed.

I hope this will be of help.  If you have any more questions
please write back to us.

-Doctor Patrick,  The Math Forum

```
Associated Topics:
High School About Math
Middle School About Math

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