September 19, 2005

New New Math

Specifically, a new way to do Trig.

Mathematics students have cause to celebrate. A University of New South Wales academic, Dr Norman Wildberger, has rewritten the arcane rules of trigonometry and eliminated sines, cosines and tangents from the trigonometric toolkit.

His book explaining the method is called Divine Proportions: Rational Trigonometry to Universal Geometry (not available at Amazon, yet).

Dr Wildberger has replaced traditional ideas of angles and distance with new concepts called "spread" and "quadrance".

These new concepts mean that trigonometric problems can be done with algebra," says Wildberger, an associate professor of mathematics at UNSW.

"Rational trigonometry replaces sines, cosines, tangents and a host of other trigonometric functions with elementary arithmetic."

This could revolutionize mathematics who knows where it could lead? Sometimes all that's needed is to look at something from a different vantage point to make exciting things happen.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at September 19, 2005 08:22 PM | TrackBack
Category: Links

Cool! Trig always seemed like a complicated way of doing something very simple. I hope this guy is onto something.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 19, 2005 10:12 PM

YAy for him.

Maybe I wont suck as bad at math now

Posted by: Mookie at September 20, 2005 12:25 PM

Personally, I found trig to be pretty easy. I'd be interested to read this book...if it weren't so freakin' EXPENSIVE!

Posted by: Victor at September 20, 2005 03:16 PM

Is he making it easier, or is he breaking it down into smaller parts? Are we taking steps back here? Hmm. I hated math too, that's why I went to business school - where they taught us to hire accountants to do the 'rithmatic.

Posted by: shank at September 22, 2005 10:53 PM

All those complicated functions are nothing but ratios anyway, call 'em what you will.

If I call my dick "John Thomas," it's still my dick.

I'm not sure there's anything really significant going on here - but maybe I oughta read Wildberger's book before I crap all over it, eh?

Posted by: Elisson at September 26, 2005 01:20 PM
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