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Trig

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History of Trigonometric Functions Mathematics is nearly as old as humanity itself. Since antiquity, mathematics has been a fundamental to the advances in science, engineering, and philosophy. It has evolved from simple counting, measurement and calculations, and shapes through the application of abstraction, logic, and complex trigonometric functions. Trigonometric functions are the functions of angles. They relate the angles of a triangle to the lengths of its sides. These functions are important in the study of triangles and modeling periodic phenomena, among many other applications. Most people are familiar with the trigonometric functions of sine, cosine, and tangent. The functions of sine cosine and tangent are used in a variety of ways from finding refraction angles of waves to finding the angles or sides in a triangle. Two main mathematicians that have helped improve the knowledge of trigonometric functions are Aristarchus of Samos and Hipparchus. Both of these men are from the B.C. era but both made advancements with trigonometric functions using what they had. Each of the mathematicians has impacted the world of math greatly and also has influenced society today.
Aristarchus of Samos was one of the mathematicians who contributed to trigonometric functions and was born in 310 BC in Samos Greece. As an astronomer Aristarchus studied the earth and material universe beyond earth’s atmosphere. Like his predecessors Aristarchus of Samos believed in the idea of a Hellenistic world system or that the Sun was the center of the universe. In his studies he found that the “…earth rotates daily on its own axis, and revolves yearly around the sun (Almanac of Famous People, 2011, p. 1)…” Like many astronomers Aristarchus of Samos used trigonometric functions to come up with his theories of the universe. Aristarchus used his knowledge of the...

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