Date: 19 Jan 1995 13:13:05 -0500 From: Margaret Gallegos Subject: Question What is the Pythagorean Theorem?
Date: 19 Jan 1995 14:09:42 -0500 From: Dr. Math Margaret Patterson Subject: Re: Question Hi there. Thanks for writing to us. The Pythagorean Theorem has to do with the lengths of the sides of a right triangle. A right triangle is any triangle which has one right angle (an angle of 90 degrees) - like this: |__ If the sides next to the right angle are of lengths a and b, and the third side is of length c, then (a*a) + (b*b) = (c*c). When people say this, they say, "a squared plus b squared equals c squared because when you multiply a number by itself like a*a, you call it a squared. This can be written as a^2. |\ | \ 2 2 2 a | \ c a + b = c | \ |____\ b Some numbers that work in this equation are, 3,4, and 5, and 5, 12, and 13 So if you are told that you have a right triangle whose sides are 3 and 4, like this: |\ | \ Then you can use this theorem to find out what the 3 | \ c third side is. | \ 3*3 + 4*4 = 9 + 16 = 25 = 5*5, so c=5 |____\ 4 Let us know if you have any other questions. -Margaret, Doctor on call.
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