A colleague from another department stopped by my office this morning with a question about parabolas and parabolic mirrors. In the simplest terms, his question was the following:
When parallel rays reflect off a parabola, do they always converge to a focal point?
As we can see in the diagram below, rays that are parallel to the axis of symmetry of the parabola reflect and converge on a focal point. What about parallel rays with a different slope?
The answer is “no,” and to convince him of this fact I turned to my new favorite application: GeoGebra. In a matter of minutes I whipped up an applet illustrating this fact and posted the applet online. I thought you all might like to see it too.
(By the way, does anyone know if it is possible to embed applets in WordPress.com blogs?)
Yes, the GeoGebra applet can be embedded in WordPress. I suggest you look at the blog colleague Jon Ingram http://joningram.org. All the best.
Sorry, it’s WordPress, not WordPress.com. Sime S.
Thanks, that’s what I was afraid of.
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