Conic Section

Pronunciation: /ˈkɒn ɪk ˈsɛk ʃən/ ?

A conic section is a 2-dimensional figure formed by intersecting the surface of a 3-dimensional double cone with a plane (see figure 1).[1] Four 2-dimensional figures that can be formed are the circle, ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola. Conic sections were studied as early as 200 BC by Apollonius of Perga.

Diagram showing the conic sections circle, ellipse, parabola, hyperbola as projections on a plane of the double cone.
Figure 1: Conic Sections. Courtesy Duk@en.Wikipedia.org. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Table of conics, Cyclopaedia, 1728
Figure 2: Table of Conics, Cyclopaedia, 1728. Click on picture to see full size.

References

  1. conic section. merriam-webster.com. Encyclopedia Britannica. (Accessed: 2010-01-05). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conic section.
  2. Drew, Rev. W. H.. A geometrical treatise on conic sections, 4th edition. MacMillan and Company, 1869. (Accessed: 2010-01-19). http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924031271509#page/n6/mode/1up.
  3. Hamilton, Rev. Henry Parr. An Analytical System of Conic Sections, 5th edition, art. 79-80. John W. Parker, 1863. (Accessed: 2010-01-19). http://www.archive.org/stream/ananalyticalsys00hamigoog#page/n93/mode/1up/search/conic.

Cite this article as:


Conic Section. 2010-01-05. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. http://www.allmathwords.org/en/c/conicsection.html.

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Revision History


2008-10-11: Changed definition to refer to the 'surface' of a double cone (McAdams, David.)
2008-07-07: Corrected link errors. Corrected spelling (McAdams, David.)
2008-04-28: Initial version (McAdams, David.)

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