The two main branches of trigonometry are plane trigonometry and spherical geometry. Trigonometry in general deals with the study of the relationships involving the lengths of angles and triangles.
Plane trigonometry focuses on the relationships between the angles and sides of triangles that have three vertices located on the surface of a plane. Students studying plane trigonometry learn about concepts like right angles, straight angles, acute angles, complimentary angles and supplementary angles. Since the triangles are all located on a plane, the sum of the angles is always 180 degrees.
In spherical trigonometry, students study curved triangles drawn on the surface of a sphere. This design means the sum of the angles of these triangles is higher than 180 degrees. Spherical trigonometry is used in astronomy and navigation.
Learn MoreTrigonometry is used in many fields of applied and practical sciences, such as astronomy, geography, physics and engineering. Trigonometry is used in astronomy to determine the distance from Earth to various nearby stars by observing the parallax shift with Earth's orbit around the Sun as a baseline.
Full Answer >Many historians refer to Hipparchus as the father of trigonometry, according to the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Hipparchus was born in about 190 B.C., and he spent most of his life in Rhodes, Greece.
Full Answer >Trigonometry developed in many parts of the world over thousands of years, but the mathematicians who are most credited with its discovery are Hipparchus, Menelaus and Ptolemy. Isaac Newton and Euler contributed developments to bring trigonometry into the modern age.
Full Answer >Trigonometry is important to mathematics as an element of calculus, statistics and linear algebra. Outside of mathematics, it is important to physics, engineering, geography and astronomy as well as architectural design.
Full Answer >