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Practical Uses for Computing Parabolas

Date: 1/30/96 at 9:27:45
From: Anonymous
Subject: Computing parabolas

Hello kind sir,

I have a question regarding parabolas.  Could you give me at least 
three practical uses for computing parabolas?  Can you also tell me 
the significance of computing the parabola in regard to its 
application?  I'm hoping for your speedy response since my brother's 
future in his math class depends on it.  Thank you in advance for any 
help you can extend.

Ryan Indon

Date: 7/22/96 at 22:2:4
From: Doctor Jerry
Subject: Re: Computing parabolas

1. If an object is thrown in a gravitational field and the resistance 
of the air is not considered, its path lies along a portion of a 
parabola.  This alone would make the study of parabolas worthwhile.

2,3,4,5. The reflectors of headlights and flashlights, as well as 
solar heaters or distant listening devices, not to mention telescopes, 
are based on the reflection properties of parabolas.  A beam of light 
parallel to the axis of a parabolic reflector will be reflected 
through the focus of the parabola which is the intersection of the 
reflector and the plane containing the axis of the reflector and the 
beam of light as it first approaches the reflector.

Many of these applications can be found in a good encyclopaedia.

-Doctor Jerry,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!   
Associated Topics:
High School Equations, Graphs, Translations

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