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Props to the Trig Teacher

Posted by joshy on March 1, 2006 at 11:20 AM PST

I'm working on a program that requires I convert degrees of longitude into miles. Since we are mapping radians on to the sphere (mostly) that is Earth, I needed to do some trigonometric calculations. Upon whipping out some paper and pencil and drawing the triangles I needed I realized had to remember which function to use. Is it Sine, Cosine, or Tangent? Hypotenuse over Adjacent? Adjacent over Opposite? All... blurring... together....

Then, from the back of my mind came the word: Socatoah; or, properly: SOH-CAH-TOA. This single word can be translated into everything I need: Sine equals Opposite over Hypotenuse, Cosine equals Adjacent over Hypotenuse, and Tangent equals Opposite over Adjacent. Perfect!

So I would just like to thank my Trigonometry teacher today for drilling SohCahToa into my head, oh, about 15 years ago. Proof that these silly mnemonics do work! Thanks!

Incidentally, Google reveals that Mathwords.com has a page on just this topic.

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