In This Chapter
Understanding what trigonometry is
Speaking the language by defining the words
Writing trig functions as equations
Graphing for understanding
How did Columbus find his way across the Atlantic Ocean? How did the Egyptians build the pyramids? How did early astronomers measure the distance to the moon? No, Columbus didn't follow a yellow brick road. No, the Egyptians didn't have LEGO instructions. And, no, there isn't a tape measure long enough to get to the moon. The common answer to all these questions is trigonometry.
Trigonometry is the study of angles and triangles and the wonderful things about them and that you can do with them. For centuries, humans have been able to measure distances that they can't reach because of the power of this mathematical subject.
“What's your angle?” That question isn't a come-on such as “What's your astrological sign?” In trigonometry, you measure angles in both degrees and radians. You can shove the angles into triangles and circles and make them do special ...