







Archimedes Burning Mirror 
20120717 

From Frakeetta: Archimedes Burning Mirror
There is a story about Archimedes that he used a “burning mirror” in the shape of a paraboloid of revolution to set fire to enemy ships in the harbor. What would be the equation of the parabola that one would rotate to form the appropriate paraboloid if it were to be designed to set fire to a ship 100m from the mirror? How large would the burning mirror need to be? What is the likelihood that this story is true? Answered by Robert Dawson. 





A periscope 
20091005 

From likhitha: In a periscope, MIRRORS ARE PLACED PARALLELLY.Then why they do not form multiple images Answered by Robert Dawson and Chris Fisher. 





Two mirrors 
20071024 

From Peter: The reflecting surfaces of two intersecting flat mirrors are at an angle θ (0° < θ < 90°). For a light ray that strikes the horizontal mirror, show that the emerging ray will intersect the incident ray at an angle β = 180° – 2θ. Answered by Stephen La Rocque. 





who am i? 
20070808 

From Phillip: if you hold a mirror horizontally across my middle, i look the same in the mirror.if you hold a mirror between my second and third digits,i look the same in the mirror if you turn me upside down, i look the same. what 6 fourdigit numbers could i be? Answered by Penny Nom. 





Looking in the mirror 
20070613 

From annafe: why do you think that when you look at the mirror your face is just the same as what it is,while when you read messages on the mirror,it is in inverse? Answered by Stephen La Rocque. 





A parabolic mirror 
20050524 

From Nathan: i am trying to find the equation for a mirror for a laser experiment. the mirror is parabolic but my question is how do you find the equation when you know only the focus and the diameter the mirror diameter is 520 mm and the focus is at 1024 mm. would you just use the measurements in the equation instead of "nice numbers" or what. Answered by Penny Nom. 





Lines of symmetry 
20020422 

From Cindie: How many lines of symmetry do the following figures contain? trapezoid: rhombus: hexagon: pentagon: Answered by Walter Whiteley. 





Parabolic mirrors 
19991107 

From Andy White: I am working on a project concerning parabolic mirrors. I need to create a mirror to focus sunlight on a focal point, but I don't know how to do it. Is there some equation that tells where a focal point will be in relation to a parabola? What is a directrix? Answered by Penny Nom. 





Satellite dishes 
19990210 

From Katherine Shaw: I have read your information on 'Why are satellite dishes parabolic", and I know the reciever should be placed at the focus of the parabola. Could you test this with lights beams and a parabolic mirror, or would light beams behave differently. Thanks. Answered by Jack LeSage and Harley Weston. 





Parabolic Mirrors 
19970128 

From Megan Wennberg: Consider a ray of light that passes through a chord of a parabola (the chord is above the focus and parallel to the directrix), hits the parabola at a point (x,y) and is reflected through the focus. If d1 is the distance from the chord to the point of incidence (x,y) and d2 is the distance from (x,y) to the focus, can you prove that the sum of the distances d1+d2 is constant, independent of the particular point of incidence. Answered by Penny Nom. 

