# Plane Analytical Geometry

By M Bourne

### An interesting application from nature:

The Nautilus Shell

See: Equiangular spiral.

(Image from Tree of Life)

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The curves that we learn about in this chapter are called conic sections. They arise naturally in many situations and are the result of slicing a cone at various angles.

Depending on where we slice our cone, and at what angle, we will either have a straight line, a circle, a parabola, an ellipse or a hyperbola. Of course, we could also get a single point, too.

## Why study analytic geometry?

Science and engineering involves the study of quantities that change relative to each other (for example, distance-time, velocity-time, population-time, force-distance, etc).

It is much easier to understand what is going on in these problems if we draw graphs showing the relationship between the quantities involved.

The study of calculus depends heavily on a clear understanding of functions, graphs, slopes of curves and shapes of curves. For example, in the Differentiation chapter we use graphs to demonstrate relationships between varying quantities.

## In this Chapter

We begin with the Distance Formula »

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