The Right Angle
A2 + B2 = C2. The Pythagorean theorem is arguably the
greatest, most important invention in history because, among its millions of
uses, it allows two things that distinguishes humans for all other animals:
flat and square – all arising from the right angle, and measured with the right
triangle. No other animal insists
on flat floors or perfectly vertical walls – that stand at a right angle to a
flat floor. Water at rest was the
only other flat thing humans typically encountered.
Consider how much we depend on flat – or at least relatively flat
surfaces for floors in our homes and buildings, roads, construction
materials. Also, this formula
allows measurement of distances as everyday as building a house to measuring
the distance of objects millions of miles away on space. Civilization as we know it could not
exist without this formula.