In about 24o BC Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek scientist, measured the Sun’s angle at two places. Using trigonometry he calculated the Earth’s radius. Legend also has it, that Eratosthenes went blind and died by starving himself when he was 80 to 82 years old!!
Trigonometry simply means calculations with triangles (that’s where the tri comes from). It involves using the lengths, heights and angles of different triangles. Architects, surveyors, astronauts, physicists, engineers and even crime scene investigators use trigonometry. Trigonometry helps Mario jump over obstacles in games. In criminology, trigonometry can help to estimate what might have caused a collision in a car accident, also in which angle a bullet was shot.
GCSE scientists – if you need help using trigonometry, try our new guide “How to work with Trigonometry”. It includes an explanation of how to find lengths of missing sides, or the size of a missing angle. As always it includes questions to try, and answers to check your understanding.
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