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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94
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4answers
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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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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 ...
91
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8answers
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Probability that a stick randomly broken in five places can form a tetrahedron

Edit (March. 2014) This question has been moved to mathoverflow; see here. Randomly break a stick in five places. Question: What is the probability that the resulting six pieces can form a ...
57
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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 ...
45
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15answers
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What is the most elegant proof of the Pythagorean theorem?

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
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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 $$ab^2(b-c)+bc^2(c-d)+cd^2(d-a)+da^2(a-b)\ge 0$$ ...
30
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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 ...
30
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2answers
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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 ...
26
votes
3answers
886 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 ...
23
votes
1answer
506 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
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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
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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 ...
22
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2answers
1k 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
7answers
11k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
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
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4answers
421 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 ...
20
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2answers
356 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. ...
18
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5answers
830 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 ...
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
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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
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1answer
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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
6answers
826 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
220 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 ...
16
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5answers
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 ...
16
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3answers
628 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
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1answer
252 views

Q: Given the graph of $y = \frac{1}{x}$, construct the $(x,y)$ coordinate axes using straightedge and compass

The solution to the problem above is known (see comments for a hint). What other analytic functions can one substitute for $y = \frac{1}{x}$, and still be able to do so?
15
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3answers
16k 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 ...
15
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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
449 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
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1answer
738 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
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4answers
466 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
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2answers
668 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
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6answers
711 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
1answer
506 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
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1answer
409 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
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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
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4answers
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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
991 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
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3answers
435 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
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2answers
320 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
466 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
408 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
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1answer
925 views

Is there a dissection proof of the Pythagorean Theorem for tetrahedra?

Of the many nice proofs of the Pythagorean theorem, one large class is the "dissection" proofs, where the sum of the areas of the squares on the two legs is shown to be the same as the area of the ...
12
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5answers
957 views

Why the interest in locally Euclidean spaces?

A lot of mathematics as far as I know is interested in the study of Euclidean and locally Euclidean spaces (manifolds). What is the special feature of Euclidean spaces that makes them interesting? ...
12
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2answers
931 views

Software for solving geometry questions

When I used to compete in Olympiad Competitions back in high school, a decent number of the easier geometry questions were solvable by what we called a geometry bash. Basically, you'd label every ...
12
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5answers
4k views

Geometry Book Recommendation?

Can someone recommend a good basic book on Geometry? Let me be more specific on what I am looking for. I'd like a book that starts with Euclid's definitions and postulates and goes on from there to ...
12
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3answers
494 views

Why do we believe the equation $ax+by+c=0$ represents a line?

I'm going for quite a weird question here. As we know, the equation in Cartesian coordinates for a line in 2-dimensional Euclidean geometry is of the form $ax+by+c=0$. I'm wondering why do we ...
12
votes
1answer
740 views

What regular polygons can be constructed on the points of a regular orthogonal grid?

Besides a square, what regular polygons can be constructed so that the points of that polygon lie on the points of a regular, planar, orthogonal grid? Besides a triangle and hexagon, what regular ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Proving collinear points

This problem is so hard that I cannot figure it out. I hope you guys can give me a small push on how to tackle this problem, as I have been thinking about this for, like a week. Here's the problem: ...