Uses of conic section!
Some of the simplest and most well-known curves—parabolas and ellipses, which can be traced back to ancient Greece—are also among the most useful. Parabolas have a reflective property that is employed in many of today’s solar power technologies. Mirrors with a parabolic shape reflect all entering light to a single point called the focus, where the solar power is converted into usable energy. Ellipses, which have two foci, have a similar reflecting property that is exploited in a medical procedure called lithotripsy. Patients with kidney stones and gallstones are positioned in a tank shaped like half an ellipse so that the stones are at one focus. Acoustic waves sent from the other focus concentrate all their energy on the stones, pulverizing them without surgery. Math can sometimes throw you a curve, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.