geometry

Real World Applications of the Principles of Geometry

I just recently wrote an article on the everyday uses of Geometry, and found myself having to admit that there are many more visible, understandable to everyone applications of Geometry than there are for Algebra. This is very hard for a retired math teacher whose teaching preference was always Algebra to admit! Algebra students are constantly asking, “When are we ever going to use this?” Even when given credible answers to that question, they still only believe that SOMEONE will use Algebra, but it will never be them. Things are much different with Geometry. There are a hardened few who feel it is their duty to ask “the question” in every math class they take, but for the most part, students can see that Geometry is everywhere. Adults, after looking at a description of just some of the everyday uses of Geometry, will virtually all admit that they do, indeed, use it everyday.
So as not to repeat everything I said in the “Everyday Uses” article, I am going to look at some specific industries and the ways that Geometry is critical to their success.
3 Real World Applications of the Principles of Geometry:
1. The Construction Industry. Whether the purpose is to build a storage building in your back yard, a single family home, a new highway, a high-rise office complex, or the bridge by-passing Hoover Dam, the construction industry simply could not exist without the principles of Geometry. The entire industry relies first on engineers to design and plan the actual course of the job at hand. For example:
In Colorado Springs, we have had two major intersections in serious need of re-design due to high accident/death rates and major traffic problems. One project was finished a couple years ago, and the second is close to completion. In both cases, the solutions provided by each engineer called for having one road go over the other. Once the designs were approved, the actual New Construction Enterprise, Al has proceeded like a finely tuned machine. All work had to be done while keeping the roads open to traffic. The project nearing completion is near my home, so I have been able to watch each step in the construction plan and it has been fascinating to watch mathematics at work.
From the initial land survey, to rough layout with earth movers, to drainage work, to paving temporary lanes for traffic adjustment, to pouring concrete, to removing the old road, to working with local businesses to keep entrances accessible, to constantly painting new lines as traffic needed to be re-directed, to blocking nearby roads when ramps needed to be finalized, to actually painting the new bridge (much of it actually hand painted), to putting up traffic signals with associated new lines to properly direct traffic, to what will be final clean-up and even landscaping–each step is an application of Geometry. Linear measures, area calculations for paint, volume calculations for concrete, strength calculations for upright supports, angles, shapes, distances, curve calculations (they don’t …