Finding a Tangent Line to a Parabola

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There is a neat method for finding tangent lines to a parabola that does not involve calculus. In this problem, for example, to find the line tangent to at (1, -2) we can simultaneously solve and and set the discriminant equal to zero, which means that we want only one solution to the system (i.e., we want only one point of intersection).

Contributed by: Jon Mormino (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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