What is a polar equation?

1 Answer
Jun 15, 2018

As discussed below.


Polar coordinates are a complementary system to Cartesian coordinates, which are located by moving across an x-axis and up and down the y-axis in a rectangular fashion. While Cartesian coordinates are written as (x,y), polar coordinates are written as (r,θ).

In polar coordinates, a point in the plane is determined by its distance r from the origin and the angle theta (in radians) between the line from the origin to the point and the x-axis

The polar coordinate system is a two-dimensional coordinate system in which each point on a plane is determined by a distance from a reference point and an angle from a reference direction

Why is it called Polar form?
In polar coordinates the origin is often called the pole. Because we aren't actually moving away from the origin/pole we know that . However, we can still rotate around the system by any angle we want and so the coordinates of the origin/pole are .

Who invented polar coordinates?
The polar coordinate system is an adaptation of the two-dimensional coordinate system invented in 1637 by French mathematician René Descartes (1596–1650). Several decades after Descartes published his two dimensional coordinate system, Sir Isaac Newton (1640–1727) developed ten different coordinate systems.

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