Polygon Coordinates and Areas

We’ve been collecting techniques for finding areas of polygons, mostly using their side lengths. We started with triangles (Heron’s formula), then quadrilaterals (Bretschneider’s formula and Brahmagupta’s formula), and the fact that the largest possible area is attained when the vertices lie on a circle. We’ll look at one more way to find area, using coordinates …

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Area of a Triangle: Heron’s Formula II

Last time we looked at a very useful formula for finding the area of any triangle, given only the lengths of its sides. Today I want to look at several problems in which the formula has been used, some of them surprising.

Permutations and Combinations: An Introduction

We have seen a number of questions recently about combinatorics: the study of methods for counting possibilities. These topics are studied at all levels of mathematical education, from elementary (where they might just be called counting) to high school (where they are often learned along with probability) to college (where they are part of “discrete …

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Finding the Radius of a Sphere

(An archive question of the week) An interesting question came to us in 2016, where rather than using a well-known formula, it was necessary to work out both what data to use, and how to calculate the desired radius.