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Calculus IV
15.Functions of Several Variables
16.Multiple Integration
17.Vector Analysis
S = contains supplemental resources
Course: College Algebra
Topic: Conic Sections
Subtopic: Introduction to Conics

Overview

The conic sections are curves formed when a cone is sliced by a plane (see your text for pictures). Depending on the angle of the plane in relation to the cone, the curve formed at their intersection is an ellipse, parabola, or hyperbola. (A circle is usually also included in this list, but actually a circle is just a special case of an ellipse.) We will study these static curves in preparation for calculus III where we will study the motion of these curves (including in polar form). The conics have lots of real-life applications including parabolic trajectories, elliptical orbits of the planets, and the reflective properties of hyperbolas.

Objectives

By the end of this topic you should know and be prepared to be tested on:

Terminology

Define: cone, section, slice, conic section

Supplemental Resources

Read Occurrence of the Conics for a nice overview of conic sections and their applications.