Erlebnisland Mathematik | Technische Sammlungen Dresden | Junghanstraße 1-3 | 01277 Dresden
Erlebnisland Mathematik

Conic Sections

Observe how the blue liquid inside the cone changes according to the different positions. Look at the surface of the liquid: which shape can you see? Sometimes the border of the surface assumes a closed shape, sometimes an open one. Imagine the cone had no base, but instead continued to infinity: which shapes would be closed, which shapes would remain open? Try having the liquid surface form a parabola: how do you have to position the cone? These shapes are called conic “sections”, because the surface of the liquid “cuts” through the cone.

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