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Math Help - Vectors :)

  1. #1
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    Vectors :)

    John, Paul, and George are standing in a strawberry field. Paul is 16.0 m due west of John. George is 40.0 m from Paul, in a direction 38.0 degrees south of east from Paul's location.

    How far is George from John?

    What is the direction of George's location from that of John?


    I think it's suppose to be a right triangle but for some reason mine keeps being an obtuse type triangle?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Vectors :)

    I know there's some nerdy LSD joke about non-euclidean geometry to made here - somehow...

    And a joke about how Ringo gets no respect! (Listening to She Said, She Said at the moment - Ringo is great!)

    Anyway - yeah, it's an obtuse triangle.

    Put them in a plane, with Paul at the origin and John on the positive x-axis. George will be in the 4th quadrant. Use trigonometry to figure out the x and y cooridnate for George. Hopefuly after that you'll know how to answer this problem.
    Last edited by johnsomeone; September 29th 2012 at 10:40 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Vectors :)

    No, there is no right triangle here. If you draw the lines connecting John, Paul, and George (yes, Ringo gets no respect! But I suspect we are showing our age.) you get a right triangle. You know that the two of the sides of that triangle are 16 and 50 m long and the angle between them is 38 degrees. The "cosine law" (NOT the definition of cosine) is exactly what you need.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Vectors :)

    So I just need one right triangle right?
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  5. #5
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    Re: Vectors :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldspice1212 View Post
    So I just need one right triangle right?
    Yes, the one for George: "40.0 m from Paul, in a direction 38.0 degrees south of east from Paul's location."
    Since Paul is at the origin, this is a line segment of length 40m that's headed 38 degree clockwise, under the x-axis (4th quadrant, x>0, y<0).
    From that, you can figure the coordinates of George. And from that, hopefully the rest of the problem will be clear.
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