For questions about geometric shapes, congruences, similarities, transformations, as well as the properties of classes of figures, points, lines, angles.

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423
votes
17answers
40k views

Is value of $\pi = 4$?

What is wrong with this? SOURCE
391
votes
11answers
404k views

Is this Batman equation for real?

HardOCP has an image with an equation which apparently draws the Batman logo. Is this for real?
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Finding an angle within an 80-80-20 isosceles triangle

The following is a geometry puzzle from a math school book. Even though it has been a long time since I finished school, I remember this puzzle quite well, and I don't have a nice solution to it. So ...
62
votes
17answers
36k 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 ...
14
votes
9answers
2k views

Different definitions of trigonometric functions

In school, we learn that sin is "opposite over hypotenuse" and cos is "adjacent over hypotenuse". Later on, we learn the power series definitions of sin and cos. How can one prove that these two ...
53
votes
8answers
29k views

Why is the derivative of a circle's area its perimeter (and similarly for spheres)?

When differentiated with respect to $r$, the derivative of $\pi r^2$ is $2 \pi r$, which is the circumference of a circle. Similarly, when the formula for a sphere's volume $\frac{4}{3} \pi r^3$ is ...
15
votes
8answers
10k views

Why does a circle enclose the largest area?

In this wikipedia, article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle#Area_enclosed its stated that the circle is the closed curve which has the maximum area for a given arc length. First, of all, I would ...
69
votes
17answers
14k views

Why is the volume of a sphere $\frac{4}{3}\pi r^3$?

I learned that the volume of a sphere is $\frac{4}{3}\pi r^3$, but why? The $\pi$ kind of makes sense because its round like a circle, and the $r^3$ because it's 3-D, but $\frac{4}{3}$ is so random! ...
37
votes
6answers
10k views

Proof that Pi is constant (the same for all circles), without using limits

Is there a proof that the ratio of a circle's diameter and the circumference is the same for all circles, that doesn't involve some kind of limiting process, e.g. a direct geometrical proof?
91
votes
24answers
73k views

Software for drawing geometry diagrams

What software do you use to accurately draw geometry diagrams?
24
votes
4answers
13k views

Picking random points in the volume of sphere with uniform probability

I have a sphere of radius $R_{s}$, and I would like to pick random points in its volume with uniform probability. How can I do so while preventing any sort of clustering around poles or the center of ...
32
votes
9answers
15k views

Is there an equation to describe regular polygons?

For example, the square can be described with the equation $|x| + |y| = 1$. So is there a general equation that can describe a regular polygon (in the 2D Cartesian plane?), given the number of sides ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

How to understand dot product is the angle's cosine?

How can one see that a dot product gives the angle's cosine between two vectors. (assuming they are normalized) Thinking about how to prove this in the most intuitive way resulted in proving a ...
13
votes
1answer
919 views

Nested sequences of balls in a Banach space

This seems to be a fairly easy question but I'm looking for new points of view on it and was wondering if anyone might be able to help (by the way- this question does come from home-work, but I've ...
23
votes
8answers
5k 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)?
56
votes
6answers
6k views

How come $32.5 = 31.5$?

Below is a visual proof (!) that $32.5 = 31.5$. How could that be?
4
votes
6answers
627 views

Diophantine quartic equation in four variables

Comments from a recent Question, Cyclic quadrilateral with equal area and perimeter, ask about such cases with (positive) integer lengths. Using Brahmagupta's formula for the area of a cyclic ...
6
votes
5answers
17k views

Find the area of largest rectangle that can be inscribed in an ellipse

The actual problem reads: Find the area of the largest rectangle that can be inscribed in the ellipse $$\frac{x^2}{a^2} + \frac{y^2}{b^2} = 1.$$ I got as far as coming up with the equation ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Intuitive explanation for formula of maximum length of a pipe moving around a corner?

For one of my homework problems, we had to try and find the maximum possible length $L$ of a pipe (indicated in red) such that it can be moved around a corner with corridor lengths $A$ and $B$ ...
6
votes
2answers
976 views

well separated points on sphere

Is there a way to generate k points on a n-sphere, say, $x_1,\dots,x_k$ such that $\min_{ i \neq j } \| x_i - x_j \| $ is as large as possible? Approximate solutions are also OK, I just need well ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Determining the angle degree of an arc in ellipse?

Is it possible to determine the angle in degree of an arc in ellipse by knowing the arc length, ellipse semi-major and semi-minor axis ? If I have an arc length at the first quarter of an ellipse and ...
12
votes
0answers
2k views

Volume of an n-simplex [duplicate]

It's rather tedious to show using Fubini's Theorem and induction on $n$ that the volume of the region $x_1+x_2+...+x_n \leq 1$ with $x_1,...,x_n$ nonnegative is $\frac{1}{n!}$. Is there an easier way ...
1
vote
1answer
224 views

The minimum perimeter and maximum height of a triangle under constraints

I'm developing a web application that consists of a calculator triangles. Although I am not a mathematician, with paper, derive and Geogebra I managed to get a lot of formulas to calculate a triangle ...
139
votes
3answers
25k views

Why can a Venn diagram for 4+ sets not be constructed using circles?

This page gives a few examples of Venn diagrams for 4 sets. Some examples: Thinking about it for a little, it is impossible to partition the plane into the $16$ segments required for a complete ...
51
votes
9answers
22k views

What is the meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point

(Originally asked on MO by AJAY.) What is the geometric, physical, or other meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point? If you have interesting things to say about the meaning of the ...
93
votes
10answers
17k views

How can I find the surface area of a normal chicken egg?

This morning, I had eggs for breakfast, and I was looking at the pieces of broken shells and thought "What is the surface area of this egg?" The problem is that I have no real idea about how to find ...
127
votes
9answers
207k views

How many sides does a circle have?

My son is in 2nd grade. His math teacher gave the class a quiz, and one question was this: If a triangle has 3 sides, and a rectangle has 4 sides, how many sides does a circle have? My first ...
55
votes
6answers
13k views

Why is a full turn of the circle 360°? Why not any other number?

I was just wondering why we have 90° degrees for a perpendicular angle. Why not 100° or any other number? What is the significance of 90° for the perpendicular or 360° for a circle? I didn't ever ...
13
votes
7answers
11k views

Drawing heart in mathematica

It's not really a typical math question. Today, while studying graphs, I suddenly got inquisitive about whether there exists a function that could possibly draw a heart-shaped graph. Out of sheer ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

How to find a random axis or unit vector in 3D?

I would like to generate a random axis or unit vector in 3D. In 2D it would be easy, I could just pick an angle between 0 and 2*Pi and use the unit vector pointing in that direction. But in 3D I ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Finding Intersection of an ellipse with another ellipse when both are rotated

Equation of first ellipse=> $$\dfrac {((x-xFirstEllipseCenterPoint)\cdot \cos(A)+(y-yFirstEllipseCenterPoint)\cdot \sin(A))^2}{(a_1^2)}+\dfrac{((x-xFirstEllipseCenterPoint)\cdot ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Using equations to draw out complex objects

How do people come up with equations of curves to draw out complex objects? Some popular examples would include: batman curve & PSY curve. This stackexchange link explains the rationale for the ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

How to find an ellipse , given 2 passing points and the tangents at them?

Please answer to a question , how to find an ellipse which passes the 2 given points and has the given tangents at them. And one related question is that the given condition can decide just one ...
58
votes
9answers
32k views

Why is $\pi $ equal to $3.14159…$?

Wait before you dismiss this as a crank question :) A friend of mine teaches school kids, and the book she uses states something to the following effect: If you divide the circumference of any ...
12
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
10k views

Determinant of transpose?

$$\det(A^T) = \det(A)$$ Using the geometric definition of the determinant as the area spanned by the columns could someone give a geometric interpretation of the property? Thanks!
20
votes
4answers
6k views

The locus of two perpendicular tangents to a given ellipse

For a given ellipse, find the locus of all points P for which the two tangents are perpendicular. I have a trigonometric proof that the locus is a circle, but I'd like a pure (synthetic) geometry ...
7
votes
4answers
25k views

Is there a way to rotate the graph of a function?

Assuming I have the graph of a function $f(x)$ is there function $f_1(f(x))$ that will give me a rotated version of the graph of that function? For example if I plot $\sin(x)$ I will get a sine wave ...
11
votes
3answers
9k views

Which tessellation of the sphere yields a constant density of vertices?

One way to tessellate a 3D sphere is by iterated subdivision of an icosahedron. I am wondering whether this method gives a homogeneous surface density of vertices. To the eye, it seems to do so, and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

“World's Hardest Easy Geometry Problem”

This question is a "corollary" (if you will) to the World's Hardest Easy Geometry Problem (external website). Formally, this is called Langley's Problem. The objective of that problem was to solve for ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Tranforming 2D outline into 3D plane

I am writing a program where I would like to allow the user to draw 4 connecting lines, such as: And convert this shape into a 3D plane. Is this possible? Is there an existing algorithm to do so? ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Equilateral triangle whose vertices are lattice points?

Is it possible to construct an equilateral triangle with vertices on lattice points? I think the answer is no, but how can I prove this? I started with a triangle with coordinates $(0,0)$ $(a,b)$ ...
11
votes
3answers
24k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

Can the Surface Area of a Sphere be found without using Integration?

When we were in school they told us that the Surface Area of a sphere = $4\pi r^2$ Now, when I try to derive it using only high school level mathematics, I am unable to do so. Please help.
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How quickly we forget - basic trig. Calculate the area of a polygon

I think the easiest way to do this is with trigonometry, but I've forgotten most of the maths I learnt in school. I'm writing a program (for demonstrative purposes) that defines a Shape, and ...
150
votes
12answers
24k views

How can a piece of A4 paper be folded in exactly three equal parts?

This is something that always annoys me when putting an A4 letter in a oblong envelope: one has to estimate where to put the creases when folding the letter. I normally start from the bottom and on ...
65
votes
5answers
8k views

Why is a circle in a plane surrounded by 6 other circles?

When you draw a circle in a plane you can perfectly surround it with 6 other circles of the same radius. This works for any radius. What's the significance of 6? Why not some other numbers? I'm ...
46
votes
4answers
3k views

A circle rolls along a parabola

I'm thinking about a circle rolling along a parabola. Would this be a parametric representation? $(t + A\sin (Bt) , Ct^2 + A\cos (Bt) )$ A gives us the radius of the circle, B changes the frequency ...
22
votes
7answers
713 views

Product of cosines: $ \prod_{r=1}^{7} \cos \left(\frac{r\pi}{15}\right) $

Evaluate $$ \prod_{r=1}^{7} \cos \left({\dfrac{r\pi}{15}}\right) $$ I tried trigonometric identities of product of cosines, i.e, $$\cos\text{A}\cdot\cos\text{B} = \dfrac{1}{2}[ ...
50
votes
10answers
59k views

Why is the volume of a cone one third of the volume of a cylinder?

The volume of a cone with height $h$ and radius $r$ is $\frac{1}{3} \pi r^2 h$, which is exactly one third the volume of the smallest cylinder that it fits inside. This can be proved easily by ...