Posts Tagged 'Navigation'

Geometry in and out of this World

Hyperbolic geometry is the topic of the That’s Maths column in the Irish Times this week (TM031 or  click Irish Times and search for “thatsmaths”).

Living on a Sphere

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This is one of the basic principles of Euclidean geometry. But we live on a spherical Earth, and we cannot travel the straight line path from Dublin to New York: we have to stick to the surface of the globe, and the geometry we need is more complicated than the plane geometry of Euclid. Spherical geometry is central for the study of geophysics and astronomy, and vital for navigation.

Continue reading ‘Geometry in and out of this World’

Where in the World?

Here’s a conundrum: You buy a watch in Anchorage, Alaska (61°N). It keeps excellent time. Then you move to Singapore, on the Equator. Does the watch go fast or slow? For the answer to this puzzle, read on. Continue reading ‘Where in the World?’

Shackleton’s spectacular boat-trip

A little mathematics goes a long, long way; in the adventure recounted below, elementary geometry brought an intrepid band of six men 800 sea miles across the treacherous Southern Ocean, and led to the saving of 28 lives. Continue reading ‘Shackleton’s spectacular boat-trip’


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