Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Monica:A parabolic curve on a bridge

how do i find the formula for my parabola with the provided information:
the golden gate bridge has a parabola
(343,160) = coordinate
(0,0)= vertex

Hi Monica,

The parabola is symmetric around the Y-axis, has vertex at the origin and a point on the parabola has a positive Y-coordinate so I know that it opens upward and its equation is of the form $y = a \; x^{2},$ where $a$ is positive.


Use that fact that the point $(343,160)$ lies on the curve to determine that value of $a.$


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