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The Surprising Uses of Conic Sections

*Watch Online/In person*: Conic sections – the curves made by slicing through cones at various angles – were studied by the ancient Greeks, but because of their useful properties, have many real-world uses. Planets have elliptical orbits, projectiles move in parabolas, and cooling towers have hyperbolic cross-sections. But did you know that one of the most important curves in economics is a hyperbola? Or that ellipses are used to cure kidney stones?

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Professor Sarah Hart is the first woman Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, and was appointed in 2020. She is Professor of Mathematics and until recently was Head of Mathematics and Statistics at Birkbeck, University of London. She studied at Oxford and Manchester, gaining her PhD in 2000. Postdoctoral research and teaching followed, including a prestigious Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Fellowship, before she was appointed to a lectureship at Birkbeck in 2004.


Museum of London 150 London Wall Barbican EC2Y 5HN

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