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.Know More
The origins of trigonometry occurred in Ancient Egypt and Babylon, where scholars performed calculations with angles, measuring them in degrees. However, it was the Ancient Greeks who advanced the study, largely due to its relation to their interest in astronomy.
Hipparchus is often credited as the inventor of trigonometry because of his computation of the first table of chords. In order to calculate the rising and setting of zodiacal signs, he popularized the division of circles into 360 degrees and the calculation of chords by considering all triangles to be within a circle, with the three points each touching the perimeter.
Menelaus built on Hipparchus' work by expanding the knowledge of spherical trigonometry with an increased focus on transversals. Ptolemy expanded the table of chords that had originated with Hipparchus, calculating them at intervals of 1 degree. Subsequent work in India and in the Arab world led to the recording of half chords, and to the sine function. Later, the Germans defined trigonometry functions as ratios, Newton discovered calculus, and Euler used complex numbers to create his famous formula.Learn more about Trigonometry
Ancient Egyptian and Greek philosophers used an early form of trigonometry that involved calculating chords to obtain the angles of a triangle. This method was effective for Euclidean plane geometry, but the heart of trigonometry, the sine, was developed in India in the sixth century.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 >
Trigonometry 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 >