All Aboard the Polar Express

This screencast is all about polar coordinates. They are merely another way of locating points in a plane. Rectangular coordinates are limited to moving horizontally and vertically from the origin until you reach your point’s location. With polar coordinates, you stand at the pole (the origin), rotate through an angle until you are facing in the right direction, and walk out the specified number of units (the radius).

Why do we need another way of plotting points? Well, rectangular coordinates are very handy, but sometimes a relation’s or function’s equation is far simpler when written in polar form. Take circles: in rectangular form, a circle centered at the origin with a radius of 3 has the equation x^2 + y^2 = 9. The same circle in polar form is r = 3!



3 thoughts on “All Aboard the Polar Express

    • Janet,
      Thanks for checking out the post! I’m planning a series of screencasts that explain the math underlying Julia and the Mandelbrot sets, which is something you said you were interested in.

      • sweet!!!
        if I haven’t already, I’ll be sure to subscribe to your YouTube channel. I am so math illiterate that I don’t even know all the symbols and things like sine. cos, etc, so this was very helpful. I will be watching and thanks SOOOO much!!!
        a math lover who just didn’t get a chance to study it…
        PS I attended all-girl HS, graduating probably about the time you were born!!! I loved the environment!

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