Born of the desire to understand the workings of motions of the heavenly bodies, trigonometry gave the ancient Greeks the ability to predict their futures. Most of what we see of the subject in school comes from these heavenly origins; 15th century astronomer Regiomontanus called it 'the foot of the ladder to the stars'. In this book, Glen Van Brummelen shows how trigonometry connects mathematics to science, and has today become an indispensable tool in predicting cyclic patterns like animal populations and ocean tides. Its historical journey through major cultures such as medieval India and the Islamic World has taken it through disciplines such as geography and even religious practice. Trigonometry has also been a major player in the most startling mathematical developments of the modern world.
Why? -- Sines, cosines, and their relatives -- Building a sine table with your bare hands -- Identities, and more identities -- To infinity ... -- ... and beyond, to complex things -- Spheres and more.