What Careers Use Trigonometry?

Trigonometry is one of the most important concepts of mathematics which demands high logical interpretation. In the 21st century, mostly all careers require trigonometry at an advanced level.

The most effective work on trigonometry known till date was recorded in Egypt and Babylon. Early astronomers used it to discover the separations of the stars and planets from the Earth. Even nowadays, most of the mechanically advanced strategies used in Building and Physical Sciences are based on the trigonometrical concepts.

When studying subjects like algebra and trigonometry, we have always questioned the utility of learning big theorems and complex theories. Research has shown that these initial reservations were completely unnecessary (one of the benefits of online learning is that everything you want to know is just a click away). The big complex theories were taught so prematurely that one could never realize how they are applicable in subtle ways to solve large problems. Before knowing where trigonometry is used, let us have a fun rapid-fire round to check how much you remember?

• What is sin θ (sine theta)?
• What is tangent?
• sin θ / cos θ equals to?

This might have woken up the young mathematician residing deep within you, and those blurry triangle images and a big list of formulas must have rushed past your eyes for a second. So quickly, after having a rough idea of what trigonometry is, let’s move on to the careers/ professions which have a use of  trigonometry.

This word trigonometry comes from the Greek word “trigonon” (triangle) and “metron” (to measure). In simple terms, trigonometry means carrying out measurements and calculations with the help of a triangle by establishing relationships between the lengths, heights and angles of either the same or different triangles. It is noted that trigonometry has emerged from applications of geometry to astronomical studies, during the 3rd century BC. Gradually from geometry, it spreads its applications into various fields. Some of them are architecture, surveys, astronomy, physics, engineering and even crime scene investigations. An interesting fact is that trigonometry is built upon geometry, and its origin can be traced to the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and India.

After knowing the basics of trigonometry, you might be curious to know what careers require the application of  trigonometry. Some promising careers in which trigonometry plays an important part are as follows:

• Construction and Architecture

We all remember the very infamous interview question where the interviewer asks the interviewee to look out of the window and tell the height of the building which is standing right next to theirs. It seems like an impossible task to answer such an absurd question, but trigonometry is the answer to it. Trigonometry can be used to measure heights, lengths and other important data in construction work even with the tiniest data available. With a little knowledge of trigonometry, we can have an advantage over others for a job regarding construction, civil engineering and architecture where many tedious tasks can be omitted just by simply applying a few basic trigonometric formulas. While building a house, to roof a house, to make the roof inclined to the construction of big skyscrapers, enormous bridges, lively monuments, etc. sound knowledge of trigonometry plays a vital role. Not only the construction but also in the early stages of designing those, the architects use their knowledge of trigonometry to make the layouts, sketches and models that replicate the original structures.

• Music production

We all are aware that music is none other than a pattern formed as a result of sound waves. You would have least expected trigonometry to be an essential part of composing music, but yes, it’s a fact that music theory also has an application of trigonometry. Music is all about sound waves, and when it comes to determining waves’ direction and propagation, it is again trigonometry that comes into the frame. These waves in a pattern are represented by basic trigonometric functions. These are used to create visual effects, adjust volumes, pitch, and other sound effects.

•  Criminology

Sherlock Holmes, the mightiest of the detectives in the world of detective fiction, do you know his skill set would also be imperfect without sufficient knowledge of trigonometry? When a detective or a law enforcement official deals with any case, trigonometry proves to be a helpful resource. It can help to calculate a trajectory of a projectile, to estimate the cause of the collision in a car accident or falling an object from a specific place, or the angle in which a bullet was shot etc. With some simple but profound observations and calculations, one can deduce the height of a person by his stride, size of the boot, the height of the injury caused by him, etc. Isn’t that amazing!

• Artist, Cartoonist and Animation (and or digital imaging)

You guessed correctly; the above three also have trigonometry involved in their work in one way or the other.

Symmetry and patterns are the best friends of artists and talking about artists, various natural objects that artists create or make follow patterns, and these patterns somehow follow trigonometry to be discovered.

For cartoonists, 3 out of every 5 are either Marvel or DC fans. Along with these two famous comic editions, many others also employ trigonometry to create and represent their villains and heroes. The proportions which play the most important role in such cartoons and comics by making the characters more appealing with their physical characteristics and also the eye-catching visuals thus created are a result of some smart trigonometric calculations.

Animation has a remarkable presence in almost every movie, series, or media content. Digital imaging or any other computer-generated effect involves trigonometry equations for desired behavior and movements.

• Gaming

Gaming has been an important part of life from small kids to young adults, who find different games appealing according to their interests. As discussed earlier, trigonometry helps generate desired behavior and movements in digital imaging, and hence is useful in game designing. The simulations and the flow of the games are incomplete without the touch of trigonometry. Take any game, where you see swift gliding moments and jumping across or along the path. The moments are possible only through trigonometric calculations. The Gaming industry is not only about codes and programming but also the math that goes behind developing it and hence Trigonometry is equally important for these engineers. So not just the clean visual effect in gaming, but also the magic created by developers is made possible through trigonometry.

• Flight Engineering

Have you ever wondered how the flights land at the exact point or how they travel in the air without causing accidents? Flight engineers have to consider their speed, distance, and direction along with the speed and direction of the wind to avoid accidents and also landing of flights. A triangle is created using the help of trigonometry, and the vectors are solved to get the desired result.

• Sailor or Surveyor

Sailors use trigonometry in their work to determine the behavior of waves and direction related to it for sailing. It helps sailors and navy officials to identify sailing conditions and also in predicting storm conditions.

• Navigator

A navigator directly or indirectly navigates various locations and determines ways out of it, and this can be accomplished with the use of trigonometry. The measure of distances and analyzing the same is done with the help of trigonometry.

• Ranger

The height and measures of trees, plants and other species of the area are analyzed with the help of trigonometry which helps determine forest health check.

• Other uses of trigonometry

Not only in the careers mentioned above but also some other careers use trigonometry like-

o In satellite systems

o In oceanography

o In map-making or cartography

o In marine engineering and marine biology

o in astronomy; used to find the distance between stars

The list can go on and on. Though trigonometry is a topic that is considered very boring and tedious while studying, it creates marvels that excite us. Some of the promising careers like architecture, criminology, civil engineering, flight engineering, gaming and even art and music find its unique application.