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54
votes
10answers
10k views

Is Euclid dead? [closed]

Apparently Euclid died about 2,300 years ago (actually 2,288 to be more precise), but the title of the question refers to the rallying cry of Dieudonné, "A bas Euclide! Mort aux triangles!" ...
53
votes
10answers
5k views

Geometric proof of the Vandermonde determinant?

The Vandermonde matrix is the $n\times n$ matrix whose $(i,j)$-th component is $x_j^{i-1}$, where the $x_j$ are indeterminates. It is well known that the determinant of this matrix is $$\prod_{1\leq ...
34
votes
1answer
2k views

Probability that a stick randomly broken in five places can form a tetrahedron

The following problem was brought to my attention by a doctoral dissertation on Mathematics Education, but - as far as I know - the solution remains unknown. I have already asked this question on ...
31
votes
14answers
25k views

If you break a stick at two points chosen uniformly, the probability the three resulting sticks form a triangle is 1/4. Is there a nice proof of this?

There is a standard problem in elementary probability that goes as follows. Consider a stick of length 1. Pick two points uniformly at random on the stick, and break the stick at those points. What ...
24
votes
3answers
914 views

About the ratio of the areas of a convex pentagon and the inner pentagon made by the five diagonals

Question : Letting $S{^\prime}$ be the area of the inner pentagon made by the five diagonals of a convex pentagon whose area is $S$, then find the max of $\frac{S^\prime}{S}$. ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

An elementary problem in Euclidean geometry [closed]

This problem was first put to me by Luke Pebody (who did not know the answer at the time) and after some work I am yet to find a proof or counterexample. I would be grateful of any insights. Call a ...
22
votes
3answers
674 views

Tetrahedron insphere iteration

I know that iterating the following incircle construction approaches an equilateral triangle in the limit:       Starting with any triangle $T$, one forms $T'$ by connecting ...
20
votes
4answers
877 views

Pinball on the infinite plane

Imagine pinball on the infinite plane, with every lattice point $\mathbb{Z}^2$ a point pin. The ball has radius $r < \frac{1}{2}$. It starts just touching the origin pin, and shoots off at angle ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Does every ellipse inside a tetrahedron inside a ball fit in a triangle inside the ball?

In three-dimensional euclidean space, consider the closed unit ball $B$. Let $T$ be a tetrahedron, and $E$ an ellipse, with $E \subset T \subset B$. Does there necessarily exist a triangle $T'$ with ...
18
votes
0answers
311 views

The Eyeball Theorem generalized

I have not seen the 2D Eyeball Theorem—that tangents from the centers of two circles, each encompassing the other, intersect each circle in the same segment length—generalized to higher ...
17
votes
9answers
4k views

Open problems in Euclidean geometry ?

Which are some (research level) open problems in Euclidean geometry ? (Edit: I ask just out of curiosity, to understand how -and if- nowadays this is not a "dead" field yet) I should clarify a ...
17
votes
3answers
994 views

Angle of a regular simplex

I find the following question embarrassing, but I have not been able to either resolve it, or to find a reference. What is the vertex angle of a regular $n$-simplex? Background: For a vertex $v$ ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

Determine if circle is covered by some set of other circles

Suppose you have a set of circles $\mathcal{C} = \{ C_1, \ldots, C_n \}$ each with a fixed radius $r$ but varying centre coordinates. Next, you are given a new circle $C_{n+1}$ with the same radius ...
15
votes
1answer
428 views

Is the perimeter of an ellipse with integer axes irrational?

Let $Q$ be an ellipse with integer-length axes $a$ and $b$: $$ \frac{x^2}{a^2} + \frac{y^2}{b^2} = 1 \;.$$ The perimeter of $Q$ is given by the complete elliptic integral of the 2nd kind, $E(\;)$: $4 ...
14
votes
2answers
906 views

Why do all incidence theorems follow from Pappus' theorem?

In Hilbert and Cohn-Vossen's ``Geometry and the Imagination," they state in the last paragraph of Chapter 20 that "Any theorems concerned solely with incidence relations in the [Euclidean ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Can Morley's theorem be generalized?

Morley's theorem states that in any triangle, the three points of intersection of the adjacent angle trisectors form an equilateral triangle. In a talk some years ago, David Rusin made the ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

spiral of Theodorus

A long time ago when I was in college I read about making a spiral out of right triangles with sides 1 and $\sqrt{N}$. (A google search seems to indicate that this is called the Spiral of Theodorus.) ...
13
votes
1answer
192 views

Smallest regular simplex containing the unit cube in $R^n$

What is the length $e_n$ of the edge of the smallest $n$-dimensional regular simplex $S_n$ containing the $n$-dimensional unit cube $Q_n$? In particular, is there $n$ such that ...
12
votes
5answers
856 views

Definition of area

I am looking for an attractive, but rigorous definition of area; say in Euclidean plane. Probably there is no short definition. It is OK to make it even longer, but can it be built from useful parts ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Euclid with Birkhoff

I'm looking for an short and elementary book which does Euclidean geomety with Birkhoff's axioms. It would be best if it would also include some topics in projective (and/or) hyperbolic geometry. ...
12
votes
2answers
532 views

Right triangle with edge lengths equal to regular unit polygon edge lengths

This question came up naturally recently from a blog post of John Baez. There is an observation of Euclid that edges of a pentagon, hexagon, and decagon inscribed in a unit circle form the edges of a ...
11
votes
11answers
5k views

Theorems in Euclidean geometry with attractive proofs using more advanced methods

The butterfly theorem is notoriously tricky to prove using only "high-school geometry" but it can be proved elegantly once you think in terms of projective geometry, as explained in Ruelle's book The ...
11
votes
4answers
8k views

The Ramanujan Problems.

I originally thought of asking this question at the Mathematics Stackexchange, but then I decided that I'd have a better chance of a good discussion here. In the Wikipedia page on Ramanujan, there is ...
11
votes
1answer
375 views

Heronian triangle with two sides that are prime

Can any prime number form a Heronian triangle with a second prime as another side? I cannot find a second prime to form a Heronian triangle with either 23 or 167. I have checked up to the 10^7th prime ...
11
votes
2answers
519 views

Maximum thickness of three linked Euclidean solid tori

Consider three circles of radius 1 in $\mathbb{R}^3$, linked with each other in the same arrangement as three fibers of the Hopf fibration. Now thicken the circles up into non-overlapping standard ...
11
votes
1answer
771 views

What is the limit of the “knight” distance on finer and finer chessboards?

Consider the "infinite chessboard" on the plane. Think of it as the lattice $X_1:=\mathbb{Z}^2$, and also finer chessboards $X_n$ corresponding to $\frac{1}{n}\cdot \mathbb{Z}^2$, $n\geq 1$. Given two ...
11
votes
1answer
491 views

Ratio of circumscribed/inscribed $(n{-}1)$-gons

As a discrete analog of the MO question, "Löwner-John Ellipsoid: incribed and circumscribed," I've been wondering what might be the maximum ratio of this quantity? Let $P$ be a convex polygon of $n$ ...
11
votes
0answers
380 views

Does every connected set that is not a line segment cross some dyadic square?

A dyadic square is a subset of $R^2$ of the form $x + 2^{-n} [0,1]^2$ with $x \in 2^{-m} Z^2$, for integers $m,n \geq 0$. We say that a set $A$ crosses a square $S$ if there exists a connected subset ...
10
votes
2answers
459 views

Helix translates as geodesics

I believe one can fill $\mathbb{R}^3$ with horizontal translates of the helix $(\cos t, \sin t, t) \;,\; t \in \mathbb{R}$, so that every point of $\mathbb{R}^3$ lies in exactly one helix. I am ...
10
votes
3answers
707 views

Efficient visibility blockers in Polya's orchard problem

Polya's orchard problem asks for which radius $\rho$ of trees at each lattice point within a distance $R$ of the origin block all lines of sight to the exterior of the orchard. ...
10
votes
6answers
650 views

Decomposing the plane into intervals

I posted this on Stack Exchange and got a lot of interest, but no answer. A recent Missouri State problem stated that it is easy to decompose the plane into half-open intervals and asked us to do so ...
10
votes
3answers
843 views

(1-Lipschitz) + (length-preserving) = isometry

I am looking for an elementary way to prove the following theorem. Theorem. Let $\alpha$ and $\beta$ be two simple convex closed curves in $\mathbb R^2$. Assume $$\mathop{\rm length} ...
10
votes
3answers
305 views

The intersection of $n$ cylinders in $3$-dimensional space

A standard question in vector calculus is to calculate the volume of the shape carved out by the intersection of $2$ or $3$ perpendicular cylinders of radius $1$ in three dimensional space. Such ...
10
votes
1answer
472 views

Polygons uniquely inducing arrangements

A beautiful, relatively recent result is that, Every simple arrangement $\cal{A}$ of $n$ lines in the plane is induced by a simple $n$-gon $P$. In a simple arrangement, every pair of lines ...
10
votes
0answers
335 views

What is the field generated by an Archimedean Spiral?

Let $F \subset \mathbb R$ be the set of lengths of line segments that one can construct, starting from the points $(0,0)$ and $(1,0)$, using a straightedge, compass, and an Archimedean spiral - the ...
9
votes
3answers
653 views

Neusis constructions

Is there some simple description of which complex numbers are "constructible" with straightedge and compass and neusis? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructible_number and ...
9
votes
1answer
279 views

Can Tarski decide constructibility in elementary geometry?

Can the decision routine for Tarski's Elementary geometry be extended to decide when an existence claim in that theory can be instantiated by a compass and straightedge construction? The answer does ...
9
votes
1answer
233 views

Which values can attain the minimum solid angle in a simplex

Given a simplex $S$ with a vertex $v$ by the solid angle at this vertex I mean the value $\hbox{vol}(B \cap S)/\hbox{vol}(B)$ where $B$ is a small enough ball centered at $v$ (for example, in the ...
9
votes
0answers
734 views

3-piece dissection of square to equilateral triangle?

At a workshop it was suggested that it likely remains an open problem whether or not there is a 3- or 2 -piece dissection of a square to an equilateral triangle. Can anyone confirm that this is ...
8
votes
3answers
576 views

On maximal regular polyhedra inscribed in a regular polyhedron

Let T, C, O, D, or I be regular tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron, respectively. Suppose that the outer polyhedron have edge-length 1. For example, it's easy to prove that ...
8
votes
4answers
478 views

Applications of n-dimensional crystallographic groups

I would like to know what are the applications of the theory of $n$-dimensional crystallographic groups (aka space groups) 1) in mathematics 2) outside of mathematics, besides the applications to ...
8
votes
1answer
550 views

Sticks and thread

In this recent question Math puzzles for dinner we had a nice time as we were asked to provide new maths puzzles for dinners. I suggested the following: Given three equal sticks, and some ...
7
votes
10answers
3k views

College (Euclidean) geometry textbook recommendations

I will be teaching a mid-level undergraduate course in Euclidean geometry this fall. Has anyone taught such a course, who can recommend a good textbook? My students will mostly be future high school ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

Comprehensive reference for synthetic euclidean geometry

Euclidean geometry is a special case of the theory of Hilbert spaces; but in order to convince small children of basic facts, e.g. that the line segments from each of the vertices of a triangle to the ...
7
votes
1answer
162 views

Shrink polygon to a specific area by offsetting

I have a 2D polygon that I want to shrink by a specific offset (A) to match a certain area ratio (R) of the original polygon. Is there a formula or algorithm for such a problem? I am interested in a ...
7
votes
2answers
190 views

How to find a tetrahedron that covers four points?

I’m looking for an explicit formula for the vertices of a regular tetrahedron that covers four given points. In particular: Given four distinct real numbers $a_1$, $a_2$, $a_3$, $a_4$, is there a ...
6
votes
1answer
308 views

Does an origin-centered ellipse in the plane intersect each $L^p$-circle at most 8 times?

The question is in the title: Let $E$ be an origin-centered ellipse in ${\mathbb R}^2$ and let $S$ be an "$L^p$-circle": $S = \{(x,y) : |x|^p + |y|^p = \text{const}\}$, where $1 \leq p \leq \infty$. ...
6
votes
1answer
608 views

Quadrature of the Lune

What is a good reference for the following result which I believe is proved by Tchebotarev. There are exactly 5 types of Lunes that are squarable. (Hippocrates produced three and then two more were ...
6
votes
1answer
290 views

Reorienting a ladder among $\mathbb{Z}^2$ poles

Imagine an object, which I'll call a ladder $\cal{L}$, a "racetrack" shape composed of a rectangle of length $L$ capped at either end by semicircles of radius $r$; so it is $L+2r$ tip-to-tip. View ...
6
votes
0answers
721 views

Interpolating points with minimum curvature constraint

I have $n$ points $p_i$ strictly interior to a rectangle $R$, and I would like to connect them with a curve $C$ whose curvature is as low as possible. Let $\kappa_\max(C)$ be the sharpest (largest ...