My name is William and I am doing a research paper on conic sections for my 12th grade math class. Part of the project is to find two conic sections in our world today and explain what there purpose is. I really need help in this area because I've been searching the internet for where conic sections are used in our world today and I really can't find anything. If you can tell me specific building or a pyramid that contains conic sections that would be great. Or even something in the universe would be helpful. Thanking you in advance, William

Hi William,

Here are some real life applications and occurrences of conic sections:

  1. the paths of the planets around the sun are ellipses with the sun at one focus

  2. parabolic mirrors are used to converge light beams at the focus of the parabola

  3. parabolic microphones perform a similar function with sound waves

  4. solar ovens use parabolic mirrors to converge light beams to use for heating

  5. the parabola is used in the design of car headlights and in spotlights because it aids in concentrating the light beam

  6. the trajectory of objects thrown or shot near the earth's surface follow a parabolic path

  7. I believe the path some astronomical objects take around the sun are hyperbolic (they do not revolve around the sun over and over, they approach, get close then leave in a hyperbolic path)

  8. Hyperbolas are used in a navigation system known as LORAN (long range navigation)

  9. Hyperbolic as well as parabolic mirrors and lenses are used in systems of telescopes

Hope this helps,


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