# Geometry

## Looks Like a Frustum, But …

Last time we looked at how to find the volume of a frustum of a pyramid or cone. But sometimes what looks at first like a rectangular frustum actually isn’t. This case turns out to have a more general formula almost as nice as what we have for an actual frustum. We’ll discover that the …

## Frustums: Not Frustrating but Fascinating

We’ve looked in the past at volumes and surface areas of familiar geometric shapes like spheres, pyramids, and cones; but more can be done. If we cut parallel to the base of a pyramid or cone, the result is called a frustum (no, not a frustrum!). Let’s derive some formulas, which will be remarkably simple.

## Probability That a Random Triangle is Acute

Some time ago we looked into the probability that a random set of sides (from, say, a broken stick) form a triangle. A recent question asked about the probability that a random triangle is acute (all angles acute) or obtuse (at least one angle obtuse), which led to more discussion of what it means for …

## Finding an Unknown Angle: Trig or Geometry

I am always interested in problems that can be solved in different ways, particularly because this can give a student a chance to be creative, as well as learning from experience that you don’t have to do it “the teacher’s way”. Here we’ll use trigonometry, and two different ways to add lines to a figure …

## How Can 3×3 Determinants Give Both Area and Volume?

(A new question of the week) A recent question asked for the connection between two different ways to use determinants geometrically: to find the area of a triangle, and to find the volume of a pyramid (or the area of a parallelogram and the volume of a parallelepiped). Last time we looked at what a …

## Geometric and Algebraic Meaning of Determinants

A recent question led me to look back in the Ask Dr. Math archives for questions about the definition and deeper meaning of determinants. Next week, we’ll see another old question for additional background, followed by the new question.

## What are Length and Width?

One of the recent discussions I showed last week dealt with the meaning of length, and I promised more about that. Here we will look at some older questions about the ambiguity of wordsÂ  like length, width, depth, and height.

## Clarifying Definitions: Triangle, Rectangle, Circle

(A new question of the week) Several recent questions involved details about definitions of geometrical objects, so I thought I’d group them together, because each is relatively short. We’ll be looking at the definitions of triangles (do we need to say “exactly three sides”?), rectangles (did Euclid use an exclusive definition?), and circles (can the …

## Experimenting with Triangles and Circles

(A new question of the week) I intended to fit three problems into last week’s post, but the third was too interesting to shorten, so I’m posting it separately. The problem itself is not hard, but in looking for a more direct solution, we extend it, discovering (through geometry software) more general facts, which lead …

## Two Triangle and Circle Problems

(A new question of the week) Several interesting geometry problems about triangles and circles came in recently. We’ll look at two today, and a third next week.