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Difference between degrees and radians

Degrees and radians are two different units of measurement for angles. They are commonly used in mathematics, physics, engineering, and various other fields. Here's a comparison of degrees and radians!

Degree (°)

  • Degrees are a unit of angular measurement commonly used in everyday life.
  • A full circle is divided into 360 degrees, with each degree representing 1/360th of the total angle.
  • Degrees are often used when measuring angles in geometry, navigation, and various practical applications.
  • Common angle measures in degrees include 90 degrees for a right angle, 180 degrees for a straight angle, and 360 degrees for a full circle.

Radian (rad)

  • Radians are a unit of angular measurement used primarily in mathematics and physics.
  • In the radian system, an angle is measured based on the length of an arc along the circumference of a unit circle (a circle with a radius of 1). An angle of 1 radian corresponds to the angle subtended by an arc with a length equal to the radius of the circle.
  • A full circle in radians is equivalent to 2π radians (approximately 6.28318 radians), which is often denoted as τ (tau).
  • Radians are particularly useful in calculus, trigonometry, and physics because they simplify many mathematical relationships. For example, in calculus, trigonometric derivatives and integrals often have simpler forms when angles are measured in radians.

Conversion between Degrees and Radians

  • To convert from degrees to radians, you can use the formula: radians = degrees × (π/180). For example, 90 degrees is equivalent to π/2 radians.
  • To convert from radians to degrees, you can use the formula: degrees = radians × (180/π). For example, π radians is equivalent to 180 degrees.

When to Use Degrees vs. Radians

  • Degrees are often used for practical measurements and in everyday situations where angles are easy to visualize. For example, when giving directions in a compass or measuring angles in carpentry.
  • Radians are preferred in mathematical and scientific contexts, especially when dealing with calculus, trigonometry, and physics. Many mathematical formulas and relationships are simplified when angles are expressed in radians, as it relates directly to the arc length on a unit circle.
Published on: Sep 14, 2023, 11:52 AM  


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