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Answered 2008-12-05 23:01:19

Arguably one of the most famous math formulas in history. Indeed, it is for finding the length of sides in a right triangle (a triangle with one right angled corner). Despite the previous answer, there are many uses for it today - it just depends on what field you happen to be working in. Just because it's been incorporated into log calculators and the operation of just about every electronic device on the planet doesn't mean it's not being used.

Trigonometry is one of (if not the) biggest math disciplines that it's used in. Aside from Engineering calculations, it is also used in the math for Oceanography, Meteorology, Geology, Aerospace (my area), anywhere Trig or log calculations are used.

One use in Oceanography is to determine the speed of sound in water, while another uses it to calculate the range of a sound source in water.

Why is it relevant today? Virtually everything electronic /electrical in our lives operates on principles developed using the PT. If our society were suddenly left without electronics or electricity, we would have to do all those calculations by hand, which takes a "little bit" longer. I once had a Sonar class in the Navy where we had to do all calculations that our main systems used to navigate underwater by hand.

Be happy that the PT is integrated into everything and that you don't have to do it by hand. But it's nice to know how just in case - you never know.

---- Pythagoas' Theorem is used to find the lengths of the sides of right-angled triangles. A practical application of the rule was to check that buildings and plots of land were 'square' - that is that they had right angles (90 degrees) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope_stretcher The practical application of the right angled triangle, especially the 3-4-5 triangle, have been known for thousands of years. However, Pythagoras proved that the principle worked for all right-angled triangles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_theorem In modern times, there are few direct uses for the Theorem, but it is fundamental to the advanced mathematics used in engineering, architecture, surveying and so on.

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