# Geometry

## A Geometrical Limit

(A new question of the week) We usually see limits applied to functions in a calculus class. An interesting question from late October deals with a limit in a geometrical construction based on a function. We’ll be seeing how to discover a proof, then several alternative proofs, and finally what the answer means.

## Cutting a Square Cake Equally

For the next couple weeks, we’ll look at a few “dissection problems”, which involve cutting a shape in various ways. Here, we look at what turns out to be a simple problem, though it seems at first that it would be complicated: dividing a cake into pieces with the same amount of cake and the …

## Finding an Angle With and Without Trig

(A new question of the week) Usually when we have a figure labeled with some lengths and angles, we can expect to find unknown angles using trigonometry. When we are expected to do this using geometry alone, we can expect that there is something special about the figure that makes it possible. But how to …

## Broken Sticks, Triangles, and Probability I

This week we look at questions about how likely it is that you can make a triangle out of three random pieces of a stick. As always in probability, the first issue comes in deciding how the process is to be done (that is, what does it mean to break a stick randomly?); we’ll also …

## Infinitely Truncating a Triangle

(A new question of the week) Here is an intriguing question we got at the end of September from an adult whose name I’ll shorten to Arun. Dear Sir Let Po be an equilateral triangle of area 10. Each side of Po is trisected, and the corners are snipped off, creating a new polygon (in …

## A Proof Problem: Chords and Tangents

One thing we enjoy doing is guiding a student through the process of problem-solving. Here is a problem from August that illustrates how to think through a complicated geometrical proof. In particular, this uses some circle theorems involving chords, secants, and tangents, together with a bit of algebra. The problem Here is the problem (I’ve …

## Cutting Up Space Using n Planes

As the capstone of this series on counting, lets look at something that’s a little harder to count by drawing: What is the maximum number of regions into which all of 3-dimensional space can be divided by n planes? We’ll look at two significantly different perspectives. Working up through the dimensions The first question is …

## Cutting Up a Circle II: Using n Points

Last week we looked at counting the maximum number of pieces into which a circle can be cut by n chords (straight lines). Here we will look at a similar-sounding problem where we use all the chords formed by n points on the circle. We’ll also see an important example of why we shouldn’t jump …

## Cutting Up a Circle I: Using n Chords

We’ve looked at how to count diagonals in a polygon; this week and next, I want to consider two different problems (though they look similar at first) dealing with chords of a circle (which are practically the same thing as diagonals of a polygon). In each, what we count will be the regions into which …

## Counting Diagonals of a Polyhedron

(An archive question of the week) In gathering information on how to count the diagonals of a polygon, I found this long discussion about a similar-sounding issue, which is hardly more difficult, yet far more complex. It was interesting to explore what the question means, and take it in different directions, on the way to …