



 
Hi Laura, Go to the Quandaries and Queries page on Math Central and use the Quick Search to search for the phrase Pythagoras real life. You will receive a list containing some questions we have been asked about outofschool problems that involve Pythagoras Theorem. In particular look at Penny's response to Tiffany who asked a question similar to yours in 2004. As Penny says "These are not 'made up' school problems but real problems that have arisen in their work or home lives." The list returned from the keyword search also contains some further examples since 2004. I want to mention one further application and this involves the distance between two points in 3space. The formula for this distance results from two applications of Pythagoras Theorem. The particular application I want to mention concerns global positioning. In the section of Math Central called Math Beyond School there is a note on navigation. In that note look at the section titled GPS and Circles. The procedure described there involves finding the intersection of three spheres. This means solving three equations, each of which is a distance expression in 3space that comes from two applications of Pythagoras Theorem . Harley In May of 2008 the following message came in the Quandaries and Queries mail.
 


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