Introduction to The Ellipse

What you’ll learn to do: Evaluate, graph, and solve problems involving ellipses

A large ornate room with statues.

Figure 1. The National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. (credit: Greg Palmer, Flickr)

Can you imagine standing at one end of a large room and still being able to hear a whisper from a person standing at the other end? The National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. is such a room.[1] It is an oval-shaped room called a whispering chamber because the shape makes it possible for sound to travel along the walls. In this section, we will investigate the shape of this room and its real-world applications, including how far apart two people in Statuary Hall can stand and still hear each other whisper.

  1. Architect of the Capitol. Accessed April 15, 2014.