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

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231
votes
15answers
19k views

Is value of $\pi = 4$?

What is wrong with this? SOURCE
318
votes
10answers
344k views

Is this Batman equation for real?

HardOCP has an image with an equation which apparently draws the Batman logo. Is this for real?
40
votes
15answers
10k views

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 ...
29
votes
6answers
5k 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?
30
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
50
votes
14answers
6k 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! ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
67
votes
21answers
32k views

Software for drawing geometry diagrams

What software do you use to accurately draw geometry diagrams?
12
votes
8answers
5k views

Why Circle encloses 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
41
votes
6answers
4k views

How come $32.5 = 31.5$?

Below is a visual proof (!) that $32.5 = 31.5$. How could that be?
5
votes
2answers
546 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 ...
100
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
662 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? ...
4
votes
3answers
630 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
953 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 ...
51
votes
4answers
5k 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 number? I'm ...
39
votes
9answers
11k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
3k 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)?
2
votes
6answers
296 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 ...
20
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

Generate a random direction within a cone

I have a normalized 3D vector giving a direction and an angle that forms a cone around it, something like this: I'd like to generate a random, uniformly distributed normalized vector for a ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

How do I convert the distance between two lat/long points into feet/meters?

I've been reading around the net and everything I find is really confusing. I just need a formula that will get me 95% there. I have a tool that outputs the distance between two lat/long points. ...
8
votes
3answers
634 views

How to find the center of an ellipse?

I have the following data:- I have two points ($P_1$, $P_2$) that lie somewhere on the ellipse's circumference. I know the angle ($\alpha$) that the major-axis subtends on x-axis. I have both the ...
12
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
342 views

Evaluating $\int_a^b \frac12 r^2$ to find the area of an ellipse

I'm finding the area of an ellipse given by $\frac{x^2}{a^2}+\frac{y^2}{b^2} = 1$. I know the answer should be $\pi ab$ (e.g. by Green's theorem). Since we can parameterize the ellipse as ...
5
votes
4answers
2k 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.
90
votes
7answers
109k 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 ...
35
votes
4answers
2k 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
8answers
2k views

Books on classical geometry

I'm curious to whether you guys have any tips on book concerning classical euclidean geometry. I'd like somewhat of an advanced treatment, around the same level as Coxeter's "Geometry revisited". I'd ...
48
votes
3answers
1k views

Volumes of n-balls: what is so special about n=5?

The volume of an $n$-dimensional ball of radius $1$ is given by the classical formula $$V_n=\frac{\pi^{n/2}}{\Gamma(n/2+1)}.$$ For small values of $n$, we have $$V_1=2\qquad$$ $$V_2\approx 3.14$$ ...
39
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
47
votes
9answers
15k 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is the Möbius strip not orientable?

I am trying to understand the notion of an orientable manifold. Let M be a smooth n-manifold. We say that M is orientable if and only if there exists an atlas $A = \{(U_{\alpha}, \phi_{\alpha})\}$ ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Probability that the convex hull of random points contains sphere's center

What is the probability that the convex hull of n+2 random points on n-dimensional sphere contains sphere's center?
9
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
974 views

Polynomial approximation of circle or ellipse

Trying again, with a somewhat simpler sounding question, since my previous one (Generalizations of equi-oscillation criterion) got zero response: Let $F:[0,1] \to R^2$ be a parametric polynomial ...
13
votes
4answers
754 views

Coloring the faces of a hypercube

I will restate the 3-D version of the problem. In how many ways can you color a regular cube with 2 colors up to a rotational isometry. The answer is of course a special case of Burnsides Lemma which ...
18
votes
3answers
709 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!
12
votes
4answers
761 views

Sheaves and complex analysis

A complex analysis professor once told me that "sheaves are all over the place" in complex analysis. Of course one can define the sheaf of holomorphic functions: if $U\subset \mathbf{C}$ (or ...
7
votes
2answers
335 views

Is there a free subgroup of rank 3 in $SO_3$?

There are known free subgroups of rank 2 in the set of rotations about the origin in $\mathbb{R}^3$, $SO_3$. For instance, the rotations by angle $\arccos \frac {1}{3}$ about the $z$- and $x$-axis ...
4
votes
6answers
3k views

Visual Ways to Remember Cross products of Unit vectors? Cross-product in $\mathbb F^3$?

Objective to find visual and accessible ways to remember this formula fast $$(x,y,z)\times(u,v,w)=(yw-zv,zu-xw,xv-yu)$$ I have used Sarrus' rule but it is slow, more here. Since it is slow, I have ...
4
votes
3answers
15k views

Height of a tetrahedron

How do I calculate: The height of a regular tetrahedron, side length 1. Just to be completely clear, by height I mean if you placed the shape on a table, how high up would the highest point be from ...
11
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
534 views

How to tile a sphere with points at an even density?

I'm writing a bit of code to plot twitter usage across the globe. To do this, I'm searching for users within n km of a certain longitude/latitude (a circular area), at many different lat/lon ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Calculating Distance of a Point from an Ellipse Border

I'm thinking about using oriented ellipses to represent curves (dents/bumps etc.) in my physics engine, and have a few questions about working with them: What methods are there to finding the ...