## parabola

### A parabola is a U-shaped curve that is symmetric about a vertical line called the axis of symmetry

A parabola is a U-shaped curve that is symmetric about a vertical line called the axis of symmetry. It is a type of curve that can be defined algebraically using a quadratic equation in the form y = ax^2 + bx + c, where a, b, and c are constants.

In a standard parabolic equation, the coefficient “a” determines whether the parabola opens upwards (a > 0) or downwards (a < 0). The "b" term affects the position of the axis of symmetry and the slope of the parabola, while the constant term "c" determines the vertical shift of the graph. The vertex of the parabola represents the lowest or highest point on the curve, depending on whether it opens upwards or downwards. It lies on the axis of symmetry and can be found using the formula x = -b / 2a. The y-coordinate of the vertex can be obtained by substituting this x-value into the equation. The focus and directrix are important elements of a parabola. The focus is a point on the axis of symmetry that lies inside the parabola, while the directrix is a line outside the parabola and perpendicular to the axis of symmetry. The distance between the focus and the vertex is called the focal length, denoted as "p." The parabola is such that every point on the curve is equidistant from the focus and the directrix. The equation that describes this relationship is called the geometric definition of a parabola. Parabolas have many applications in mathematics and real-life situations. They can be found in various contexts such as physics, engineering, optics, and architecture. For example, a ball thrown into the air follows a parabolic trajectory due to the force of gravity. The shape of satellite dishes, automobile headlights, and even the path of water from a fountain can also be represented by parabolic curves.

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