Using the Pythagorean Theorem in Everyday Life

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The Pythagorean Theorem, invented by the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, has many everyday uses. It states that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Architects and builders use it to build homes with triangular roofs or gables. It also plays a part in navigation, as triangulation can pinpoint the location of two points, such as in cell phone or automobile navigation. NASA uses it to trace spacecrafts, and geologists use it to track earthquake activity. Forensic investigators use it to determine the path of a shot bullet and the angle of impact of blood spatter. Additionally, it is used in trajectory calculations for arrows and missiles. The Pythagorean Theorem helps us solve everyday problems and evolve our problem-solving abilities.

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How We Use the Pythagorean Theorem in Everyday Life First, let’s discuss the inventor of the theorem before how we use it. Pythagoras of Samos is a very odd fellow but is very well known despite not have written anything in his lifetime so what we know about him comes from Historians and Philosophers. Though we know he was a Greek philosopher and mathematician mainly known for the Pythagorean Theorem that we all learned in 6th grade. (a2 + b2 = c2). His theorem states that that the square of the hypotenuse (c2) of a right triangle is equal to the two legs squared (a2 + b2).

With the endless amounts of angles somehow making a 90 degree angle, you’d be surprised how often people use this theorem to solve everyday needs. It can easily be applied to architecture and construction, such as with building homes that have a triangular-life roof tops or gables though it is only applied when it is with a 90 degree angle, of course, as the rule still applies. The theorem can also be used to find the location of two points, which is why it also plays a part in navigation.

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When a triangulation is in a 90 degree angle, a certain location can be pinpointed. Cell phones can be traced using this triangulation method and also automobile navigation. This method can also be used with a compass to find your current geographical location. NASA also uses this method to trace spacecrafts and sends a signal out to them which, in turn, bounces the signal back and triangulation uses these figures to calculate the spacecraft’s position. Geologists also use the Pythagorean Theorem to track earthquake activity.

Earthquakes make two different types of waves, one being slower and longer than the other. If they triangulate the distance travelled by the faster waves by the slower ones then the geologists can determine the source or centre of the earthquake. Triangulation can also be used in Forensic Investigations to find out the path of a shot bullet. This can help the police by showing the area at which the bullet was shot and it can also show how close or far the shooter was.

With this information it can prove whether the scene was a homicide, suicide or even an accident. Blood spatter can also use the theorem as the calculations can determine the angle of impact, positions of victims throughout the scene of the crime and also where the assailant was. This kind of information has been used to solve crimes and convict violent criminals every day. The Pythagorean Theorem is also used in trajectory of arrows or even missiles.

It can determine the angle needed to hit a target at a certain distance and without it they’ll most likely miss the target which can be deadly in some situations. And these are just a few examples on how a simple little equation is used in everyday life, from bridges to triangulating seismic waves and their origins. There isn’t much known about Pythagoras but we do know that his work and very popular equation has helped us evolve slowly with our construction, aim and problem solving, of course.

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Using the Pythagorean Theorem in Everyday Life. (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from

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