# Inverse Trigonometric Functions

## Definition

Inverse Trigonometric Functions are, like any other inverse function, mathematical operators that undo another function's operation.

Given a triangle like this

Triangle ABC

the basic trigonometric functions would be defined as:

$\begin{array}{lcr} \sin \theta = \frac{a}{b} & \cos \theta = \frac{c}{b} & \tan \theta = \frac{a}{c} \end{array}$

with the angle as their input (or argument) and a ratio of sides as their result. However, the inverse functions take the ratio as input and return the angle:

$\sin^{-1} \left( \frac{a}{b} \right) = \theta \\ \cos^{-1} \left( \frac{c}{b} \right) = \theta \\ \tan^{-1} \left( \frac{a}{c} \right) = \theta$

This means the inverse trigonometric functions are useful whenever we know the sides of a triangle and want to find its angles.

Note: The notation $$\sin^{-1}$$ might be confusing, as we normally use a negative exponent to indicate the reciprocal. However, in this case, $$\sin^{-1} \alpha \neq \frac{1}{\sin \alpha}$$. When we want the reciprocal of $$\sin$$ we use $$\csc$$. In order to avoid this ambiguity, sometimes people might choose to write the inverse functions with an arc prefix. For example:

$\arccos \beta = \cos^{-1} \beta$

## Technique

### In following statement, $$a$$ and $$b$$ are positive, co-prime integers. What is the sum of $$a$$ and $$b$$?

$\cos^{-1} \frac{17}{\sqrt{1130}}= \tan^{-1} \frac{a}{b}$

Since we are trying to find $$a$$ and $$b$$, we should take the tangent of both sides of the equation:

\begin{align} \tan \left( \cos^{-1} \frac{17}{\sqrt{1130}} \right) &= \tan \left( \tan^{-1} \frac{a}{b} \right) \\ \tan \left( \underbrace{\cos^{-1} \frac{17}{\sqrt{1130}}}_{\large{\theta}} \right) &= \frac{a}{b} \end{align}

Further, we we can use the ratio given to sketch the triangle with $$\theta$$ in it, using the definition of $$\cos^{-1}$$:

Right Triangle with side 17 and hypotenuse square root 1130

Now, using the Pythagorean theorem, we can see that $$17^2 + a^2 = 1130$$. This means $$a=\sqrt{1130-289}=29$$. Finally, we evaluate $$\tan \theta = \frac{29}{17}$$, which means $$a+b=46$$. $$_\square$$

Note by Arron Kau
5 years ago

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Can you please give me inverse formulas of sine cosine tan

- 5 years ago