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What Is Geometry? When Do You Use It In The Real World?

Geometry is one of the classical disciplines of math. Roughly translating in Greek as “Earth Measurement”, it is concerned with the properties of space and figures. It is primarily developed to be a practical guide for measuring lengths, areas, and volumes, and is still in use up to now. Euclid turned the study of geometry into an axiomatic form at around 3rd century BC, and these axioms are still useful up to the present day. An important evolution for the science of geometry was created when Rene Descartes was able to create the concept of analytical geometry. Because of it, plane figures can now be represented analytically, and is one of the driving forces for the development of calculus. In addition, the rise of perspective gave rise to projective geometry. Nowadays, modern geometry has strong ties with physics, and is an integral part of new physical concepts such as relativity and string theories.

The most basic form of geometry is so the so called Euclidean geometry. Lengths, areas, and volumes are dealt here. Circumferences, radii, and areas are one of the concepts concerning length and area. Also, the volume of 3 dimensional objects such as cubes, cylinders, pyramids, and spheres can be computed using geometry. It used to be all about shapes and measurements, but numbers will soon make its way to geometry. Thanks to the Pythagoreans, numbers are introduced in geometry in the form of numerical values of lengths and areas. Numbers are further utilized when Descartes was able to formulate the concept of coordinates.

In real life, geometry has a lot of practical uses, from the most basic to the most advanced phenomena in life. Even the very basic concept of area can be a huge factor in how you do your daily business. For example, space is a huge issue when planning various construction projects. For instance, the size or area of a specific appliance or tool can greatly affect how it will fit in to your home or workplace, and can affect how the other parts of your home would fit around it. This is why it is essential to take account of areas, both of your space, and the item that you are about to integrate in there. In addition, geometry plays a role in basic engineering projects. For example, using the concept of perimeter, you can compute the amount of material (ex.: paint, fencing material, etc) that you need to use for your project. Also, designing professions such as interior design and architecture uses 3 dimensional figures. A thorough knowledge of geometry is going to help them a lot in determining the proper style (and more importantly, optimize its function) of a specific house, building, or vehicle.

Those are some of the more basic uses of geometry, but it doesn’t end there. As some more professions use geometry in order to do their job properly. For example, computer imaging, something that is used nowadays for creating animations, video games, designing, and stuff like that, are created using geometric concepts. Also, geometry is used in mapping. Mapping is an essential element in professions such as surveying, navigation, and astronomy. From sketching to calculating distances, they use geometry to accomplish their job. In addition, professions such as medicine benefit from geometric imaging. Technologies such as CT scans and MRIs are used both for diagnosis and surgical aids. Such methods enable doctors to do their job better, safer, and simpler.


Stuart Raffeld

B. A. Operations Research & Statistics, California State University, Long Beach, Teaching Assistant undergraduate Mathematics. B.S. Mathematics, California State University, Long Beach. Mathematics University of California, Irvine, Teaching Assistant undergraduate Mathematics. Completed course work for MS Degree with 4.0 GPA. M.S. Mathematics, Kingsbridge University. Transcript available upon request. 1988-Present: Mathematics tutoring--One on one tutoring for SES students through YP institute and Academic advantage. Tutored students with low learning skills as well as very bright students. Tutored groups of four students in math classes from basic mathematics through calculus. Mathematics teaching for EFN, Inc., a private school.

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