Questions on the construction of geometrical figures using a limited set of "tools".

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9
votes
3answers
17k views

Compass-and-straightedge construction of the square root of a given line?

Given A straight line of arbitrary length The ability to construct a straight line in any direction from any starting point with the "unit length", or the length whose square root of its magnitude ...
58
votes
1answer
3k views

Direct proof that $\pi$ is not constructible

Is there a direct proof that $\pi$ is not constructible, that is, that squaring the circle cannot be done by rule and compass? Of course, $\pi$ is not constructible because it is transcendental and ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Representing the multiplication of two numbers on the real line

There is a simple way to graphically represent positive numbers $x$ and $y$ multiplied using only a ruler and a compass: Just draw the rectangle with height $y$ in top of it side $x$ (or vice versa), ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

construct inverse point with respect to the circle by the use of the compass alone

If the given point P lies inside a circle C ,with center O,the circle of radius OP about P intersects C in two points. How to construct point P' inverse to point P with respect to the circle C by ...
26
votes
10answers
8k views

What is the (mathematical) point of straightedge and compass constructions?

The ancient discipline of construction by straightedge and compass is both fascinating and entertaining. But what is its significance in a mathematical sense? It is still taught in high school ...
6
votes
3answers
919 views

Equilateral triangle geometric problem

I have an Equilateral triangle with unknown side $a$. The next thing I do is to make a random point inside the triangle $P$. The distance $|AP|=3$ cm, $|BP|=4$ cm, $|CP|=5$ cm. It is the red ...
2
votes
3answers
719 views

Determine the centre of a circle

Given a circle $O$ on a paper, we do not know the centre point. Can we draw the centre only using a ruler (by which we can only draw straight lines)? One fact I know: we can draw the tangent line at ...
13
votes
2answers
682 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
2answers
3k views

Trisect unknown angle using pencil, straight edge & compass; Prove validity of technique

This question was posed by my high school geometry teacher, for extra credit: Is it possible, using only a pencil, a straightedge (not a ruler) and a compass to trisect an angle of unknown value? ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

Is the non-existence of a general quintic formula related to the impossibility of constructing the geometric median for five points?

In particular, in the Computation section of in the Wikipedia page for geometric median, there is this statement: ...but no such formula is known for the geometric median, and it has been shown ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Construction of a right triangle

It's a high school level question which we can't seem to solve. Here it is: Given 2 lines, one of the length of the hypotenuse and the other with the length of the sum of the 2 legs, construct ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Construction of a regular pentagon

In Robert Dixon's Mathographics, a regular pentagon is constructed with straightedge and compass only. It is the pentagon $ABCDE$ pictured below. I am having trouble seeing why the central angles ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

Drawing a triangle from medians

Is it possible to draw a triangle, if the length of its medians $(m_1, m_2, m_3)$ are given only? Someone asked me this question, but I can not see it. Is it really possible? UPDATE Apart from the ...
10
votes
1answer
108 views

Using a compass and straightedge, what is the shortest way to divide a line segment into $n$ equal parts?

Sometimes I help my next door neighbor's daughter with her homework. Today she had to trisect a line segment using a compass and straightedge. Admittedly, I had to look this up on the internet, and ...
5
votes
1answer
315 views

On Constructions by Marked Straightedge and Compass

Pierpont proved that a regular $n$-gon is constructible by (singly) marked straightedge and compass if and only if $n = k \, p_1 \cdots p_{s}$, where $k = 2^{a_1} 3^{a_2}$ for $a_i \geq 0$ and $p_i = ...
3
votes
3answers
140 views

How to construct a line with only a short ruler

Suppose I want to draw a line between the points A and B but I only have a ruler that covers only something between a fifth and a quarter of the distance between the two points. Also available a ...
7
votes
2answers
57 views

Dividing an angle into $n$ equal parts

My question is simply: for which values of $n$ is it possible to divide any given angle into $n$ equal parts using only a compass and a straight edge? I know that it is possible for $2$ and not ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Constructing a circle through a given point, tangent to a given line, and tangent to a given circle

While browsing around about problems similar to the problem of Apollonius, I have found references to constructions of all types of circles. For example, not only is it possible to construct a circle ...
4
votes
4answers
961 views

Constructing a triangle given three concurrent cevians?

Well, I've been taught how to construct triangles given the $3$ sides, the $3$ angles and etc. This question came up and the first thing I wondered was if the three altitudes (medians, ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

Apollonius circle

I'm given two points, $A$ and $B$, and two lengths, $b$ and $c$. I need to find the locus of point $C$ such that $BC:AC=b:c$. This link describes Apollonius circle of first type, but I can't seem to ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

How to construct the point of intersection of a line and a parabola whose focus and directrix are known?

I found this problem in Polya's "How to solve it". It goes as follows Using only a straight edge and a compass, construct the point(s) of intersection of a given line and a parabola whose focus ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

How to construct hyperbolically equidistant points on a line?

In Stillwells' "Sources of Hyperbolic Geometry " page 66 figure 3.3 shows an ((incomplete?) construction of hyperbolically equidistant points on a line. I tried to reconstruct the figure but did ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Can a circle's circumference be divided into arbitrary number of equal parts using straight edge and compass only?

Can a circle's circumference be divided into arbitrary number of equal parts using straight edge and compass only? In other words, are all the $\frac{2\pi}{k} , k \in \mathbb N^+$ angles ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Prove : for every integer $n\ge1$, if the regular $n^2$-gon is constructible, then $n$ has no odd prime divisors.

For every integer $n\ge1$, if the regular $n^2$-gon is constructible, then $n$ has no odd prime divisors. I know is has something to do with the fact the output Euler's Totient function on $n^2$ ...
1
vote
1answer
142 views

To draw a straight line tangent to two given ellipses

How can I draw a a straight line that touches two ellipses? There are, like for two circles, 4 different solutions. I´m not interested in the analytical solution, but in the geometrical drawing, ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

hyperbolic geometry (and circle ) construction problem

Was thinking about hyperbolic geometry, the Poincare Disk Model and Sweikarts constant and combined them all in a construction puzzle that I was unable to solve. My construction puzzle: Given: A ...