geometry assuming the parallel postulate of Euclid: in a plane, given a line and a point not on that line, there is exactly one line parallel to the given line through the given point.

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97
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3answers
13k views

Slice of pizza with no crust

The following question came up at a conference and a solution took a while to find. Puzzle. Find a way of cutting a pizza into finitely many congruent pieces such that at least one piece of pizza ...
96
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4answers
2k views

Hyperbolic critters studying Euclidean geometry

You've spent your whole life in the hyperbolic plane. It's second nature to you that the area of a triangle depends only on its angles, and it seems absurd to suggest that it could ever be otherwise. ...
91
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8answers
3k views

Probability that a stick randomly broken in five places can form a tetrahedron

Edit (June. 2015) This question has been moved to MathOverflow, where a recent write-up finds a similar approximation as leonbloy's post below; see here. Randomly break a stick in five places. ...
60
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1answer
3k views

About Euclid's Elements and modern video games

Update (6/19/2014) $\;$ Just wanted to say that this idea that I posted more than a year ago, has now become reality at: http://euclidthegame.com/ 12.292 users have played it in 96 different ...
54
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17answers
24k views

What is the most elegant proof of the Pythagorean theorem? [closed]

The Pythagorean Theorem is one of the most popular to prove by mathematicians, and there are many proofs available (including one from James Garfield). What's the most elegant proof? My favorite ...
36
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3answers
1k views

A generalization of IMO 1983 problem 6

Note: This question has a bounty that will expire in just a few days. Let $a,b,c$ and $d$ be the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral. Show that $$ab^2(b-c)+bc^2(c-d)+cd^2(d-a)+da^2(a-b)\ge 0$$ ...
34
votes
2answers
2k views

Why can't three unit regular triangles cover a unit square?

A square with edge length $1$ has area $1$. An equilateral triangle with edge length $1$ has area $\sqrt{3}/4 \approx 0.433$. So three such triangles have area $\approx 1.3$, but it requires four ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is Euclidean geometry scale-invariant?

In Euclidean geometry, I frequently use concepts related to invariance under scaling. For example, I know that if two squares have different side lengths, the ratio of their side lengths is the ...
27
votes
4answers
1k views

Two squares in a box.

According to Arthur Engel, "Problem Solving Strategies", this problem goes back to Erdős, but I cannot find the solution: Let $A$ and $B$ be two non-overlapping squares inside a unit square, of side ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

A circle in the plane contains at most four lattice points?

Let $\cal C$ be a circle in ${\mathbb R}^2$ : $\cal C=\lbrace (x,y)\in{\mathbb R}^2 | (x-x_0)^2+(y-y_0)^2=r^2\rbrace$ for some constants $x_0,y_0,r$. What is the maximal number of points that can ...
24
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4answers
1k views

Finding an invisible circle by drawing another line

A friend of mine taught me the following question. He said he found it in a book a few years ago. Though I've tried to solve it, I'm facing difficulty. Question: You know on a plane there is an ...
23
votes
7answers
14k views

Book recommendation on plane Euclidean geometry

I consider myself relatively good at math, though I don't know it at a high level (yet). One of my problems is that I'm not very comfortable with geometry, unlike algebra, or to restate, I'm much more ...
23
votes
1answer
512 views

If $d$ is a metric, is $d(x,y)/(1+d(x,0)+d(y,0))$ a metric?

I now that one can show that if $d$ is a metric on a vectorspace $X$ then so is $$\varrho(x,y):=\frac{d(x,y)}{1+d(x,y)}.$$ This easily follows from the fact that the function $s \mapsto \frac{s}{1+s}$ ...
23
votes
5answers
1k views

Did Euclid prove that $\pi$ is constant?

Pi is defined the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, but of course different circles have different circumferences and diameters, so in order for it to be well-defined we need to ...
23
votes
2answers
390 views

When is a metric space Euclidean, without referring to $\mathbb R^n$?

Normally, the Euclidean space is introduced as $\mathbb R^n$. However, I've now been thinking about how one might define the $n$-dimensional Euklidean space only from the properties of the metric. ...
22
votes
2answers
583 views

Can I represent groups geometrically?

I have just taken up abstract algebra for my college and my professor was giving me an introduction to groups, but since I like geometric definitions or ways of looking at stuff, I kept thinking, "How ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Does there exist a copy of Euclid's Elements with modern notation and no figures?

I am working through Euclid's Elements for fun, but I find the propositions difficult to understand without referencing the provided figures. Unfortunately, the figures usually give away the proofs, ...
21
votes
8answers
4k views

How to prove $\cos \frac{2\pi }{5}=\frac{-1+\sqrt{5}}{4}$?

I would like to find the apothem of a regular pentagon. It follows from $$\cos \dfrac{2\pi }{5}=\dfrac{-1+\sqrt{5}}{4}.$$ But how can this be proved (geometrically or trigonometrically)?
20
votes
4answers
469 views

A problem with concyclic points on $\mathbb{R}^2$

I am thinking about the following problem: If a collection $\{P_1,P_2,\ldots,P_n\}$ of $n$ points are given on the $\mathbb{R^2}$ plane, has the property that for every $3$ points $P_i,P_j,P_k$ in ...
19
votes
5answers
878 views

Is there a deep reason why $(3, 4, 5)$ is pythagorean? [closed]

The triple $(3, 4, 5)$ is a pythagorean triple - it satisfies $a^2 + b^2 = c^2$ and, equivalently, its components are the lengths of the sides of a right triangle in the Euclidean plane. But of ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it possible to solve any Euclidean geometry problem using a computer?

By "problem", I mean a high-school type geometry problem. If no, is there other set of axioms that allows that? If yes, are there any software that does that? I did a search, but was not able to ...
19
votes
3answers
19k views

Check if a point is within an ellipse

I have an ellipse centered at $(h,k)$, with semi-major axis $r_x$, semi-minor axis $r_y$, both aligned with the Cartesian plane. How do I determine if a point $(x,y)$ is within the area bounded by ...
19
votes
2answers
259 views

To whom do we owe this construction of angles and trigonometry?

I've come across what is, to me, the most precise, beautiful and thorough definition of what we know of as the angle between two vectors. I say this because most literature either skims over things ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Intersection of two parabolae

Problem: Consider two parabolae such that their axes of symmetry form a right angle. Prove that all four points of intersection lie on a common circle (it is an assumption that there exist such four ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the modern axiomatization of (Euclidean) plane geometry?

I have heard anecdotally that Euclid's Elements was an unsatisfactory development of geometry, because it was not rigorous, and that this spurred other people (including Hilbert) to create their own ...
17
votes
1answer
90k views

Solving Triangles (finding missing sides/angles given 3 sides/angles)

What is a general procedure for "solving" a triangle—that is, for finding the unknown side lengths and angle measures given three side lengths and/or angle measures?
17
votes
1answer
110 views

If the Greeks had been four dimensional, would they have been able to derive the pi squared coefficient for the hypersphere volume without calculus?

I was reading about Archimedes' pre-calculus proof of the volume of the sphere and I realized that the trick he uses (volume of hemisphere + volume of cone = volume of cylinder) doesn't generalize to ...
17
votes
6answers
866 views

Geometrical construction for Snell's law?

Snell's law from geometrical optics states that the ratio of the angles of incidence $\theta_1$ and of the angle of refraction $\theta_2$ as shown in figure1, is the same as the opposite ratio of the ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

The position of a ladder leaning against a wall and touching a box under it

I was reading a newspaper and there was a little math riddle, I thought "how funny, that's gonna be easy, let's do it" and here am I... The problem goes as follow : in a barn, there is a 1 meter ...
16
votes
3answers
652 views

Projection of tetrahedron to complex plane

It is widely known that: distinct points $a,b,c$ in the complex plane form equilateral triangle iff $ (a+b+c)^{2}=3(a^{2}+b^{2}+c^{2}). $ New to me is this fact: let $a,b,c,d$ be the images of ...
16
votes
1answer
271 views

With what analytic functions can one construct the $(x,y)$ coordinate axes using a straightedge and a compass?

Given the graph of $y = \frac{1}{x}$, construct the $(x,y)$ coordinate axes using a straight edge and a compass. The solution to this problem is known (mouse over the spoiler text below for a ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Proof that every polygon with an inscribed circle is convex?

In many elementary (and not-so-elementary) Euclidean geometry texts, a (simple) polygon is said to be tangential  if it is convex and has an inscribed circle (i.e., a circle that intersects and ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Can a regular heptagon be constructed using a compass, straightedge, and angle trisector?

Euclid has a magical compass with which he can trisect any angle. Together with a regular compass and a straightedge, can he construct a regular heptagon?
15
votes
2answers
469 views

Do there exist an infinite number of 'rational' points in the equilateral triangle $ABC$?

Let's call a point $P$ which satisfies the following condition 'a rational point'. Condition: Each distance $PA, PB, PC$ from a point $P$ to three vertices $A, B, C$ of an equilateral triangle $ABC$ ...
15
votes
1answer
257 views

Hypercube and Hyperspheres

Let $n,k\in\mathbb{N}$. In this problem, the geometry of $\mathbb{R}^n$ is the usual Euclidean geometry. The lattice hypercube $ Q(n,k)$ is defined to be the set $ \{1,2,...,k\}^n ...
15
votes
1answer
819 views

Why are there so few Euclidean geometry problems that remain unsolved?

Stillwell mentions in his book Mathematics and its History that: Most of the really old unsolved problems in mathematics, in fact, are simple questions about the natural numbers... What is it ...
14
votes
4answers
476 views

If any triangle has area at most 1 , points can be covered by a rectangle of area 2.

I am working on this problem for some time, and I am not able to finish the argument: There is a finite number of points in the plane, such that every triangle has area at most 1. Prove that the ...
14
votes
2answers
793 views

Finding the circles passing through two points and touching a circle

Given two points and a circle, construct a/the circle through the two points and touching the given circle. I came across this problem in History of Numerical Analysis by H. Goldstein. I spent some ...
14
votes
6answers
783 views

Why do we use the Euclidean metric on $\mathbb{R}^2$?

On the train home, I thought I would try to prove $\pi$ is irrational. I needed a definition, so I used: $\pi$ is the area of the unit circle. But what is a circle? A circle is the set of tuples ...
14
votes
2answers
354 views

Decomposable Families of Shapes

There are two types of golden triangles in the world, as shown in the following picture: Here $\varphi = \dfrac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2}$ denotes the golden ratio. Each of these golden triangles can be ...
14
votes
1answer
570 views

What's the average width of a convex polygon?

If one computes the average width of a triangle, then one gets $(s_1+s_2+s_3)/\pi$, where $s_1$, $s_2$, $s_3$ are the side lengths. I did this by brute force, using an integral which went through an ...
14
votes
1answer
431 views

Two tetrahedra are congruent given a certain condition

This question is inspired by a Miklos Schweitzer problem, namely Problem 9./2007 Let $A$ and $B$ be two triangles in the plane such that the interior of both triangles contains the origin, and for ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a point?

In geometry, what is a point? I have seen Euclid's definition and definitions in some text books. Nowhere have I found a complete notion. And then I made a definition out from everything that I know ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Does a triangle always have a point where each side subtends equal 120° angles?

Is there a point $O$ inside a triangle $\triangle ABC$ (any triangle) such that the angle $\angle{AOB} = \angle{BOC} = \angle{AOC}$? What do we call this point?
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Making a convex polyhedron with two sheets of paper

Suppose that we have two sheets of paper $S,T$ and that each of $S,T$ is in the shape of a convex quadrilateral. Also, suppose that the length of the perimeter of $S$ equals that of $T$. (Note that ...
13
votes
3answers
458 views

What is the expected area of a polygon whose vertices lie on a circle?

I came across a nice problem that I would like to share. Problem: What is expected value of the area of an $n$-gon whose vertices lie on a circle of radius $r$? The vertices are uniformly ...
13
votes
1answer
99 views

Uniqueness of a configuration of $7$ points in $\Bbb R^2$ such that, given any $3$, $2$ of them are $1$ unit apart

This question from earlier today asks (paraphrasing here): Is there a configuration of $7$ points in the Euclidean plane such that, given any $3$ of the $7$ points, at least $2$ of them are $1$ ...
13
votes
2answers
474 views

Decomposing the plane into intervals

A recent Missouri State problem stated that it is easy to decompose the plane into half-open intervals and asked us to do so with intervals pointing in every direction. That got me trying to ...
13
votes
3answers
431 views

How many 1-balls are needed to cover the 2-ball in an $n$-dimensional Euclidean Space?

Consider $\mathbb{R}^n$ and its usual Euclidean norm given by the distance $d(x,y) = \sqrt{\sum_{i=1}^n (x_i-y_i)^2}$. Let $B(y,1) = \{ x\in \mathbb{R}^n : d(x,y) \leq 1 \}$ be the closed 1-ball ...
13
votes
1answer
297 views

How big is my pizza, if I know its slices' sizes?

I bought a box of frozen pizza: eight slices, baked and then frozen, stacked in a box. The packaging assured me that I was holding an 18-inch[-diameter] pizza. That got me thinking: how do I know ...