Geometry: Anatomy of a Circle

Anatomy of a Circle

If you have ever tried to get information from a bureaucratic organization, you have probably gotten the “run around.” The phrase “going around in circles” doesn't usually conjure up an image of progress. But if you think about the industrial revolution, “going around in circles” was exactly how progress was made. Pulleys and gears enabled machines to increase production while unions helped shorten the workweek.

Circles and cycles go hand in hand. Cycles are made by going around a circle. You study the cycles of the earth for many reasons: to help you decide which clothes to pack for vacation, when you should plant your garden, and what time you should get up to see sunrise.

Without an understanding of circles, it would be difficult to talk about the circle of life, explain why you do not fall off the edge of the earth, or give change for a dollar. Circles are all around us, and it is worthwhile to understand them as much as possible.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geometry © 2004 by Denise Szecsei, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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