Let E be an ellipse centered at the origin on the x, y plane with major radius b and minor radius a. The length of the shortest line segment tangent to E that begins on the x-axis and ends on the y-axis is a+b. This can be shown using Lagrange multipliers. This answer is very simple and leads us to ask the following question:

Can you give a geometric reason for why the length is a+b?

This was originally asked to me by Frank Jones a few years ago.