MCS Seminar: An Old Construction and a New Twist

October 15, 2014 at 79 p.m.Calendar Icon

TimeOctober 15, 2014 at 79 p.m.

It's well known that exact straightedge-and-compass construction of a regular n-gon is impossible for most values of n, but that didn't keep people from needing to construct such polygons in the days when straightedge and compass were the principal tools of drafting. I'll introduce a historical technique for approximating a regular n-gon that works (more or less) for any value of n. Finally, I'll introduce a slight variation -- original as far as I know -- that improves the construction's accuracy. The material is very accessible! The only mathematical background needed is a little high school algebra and trigonometry.

Bob Milnikel teaches at Kenyon College (Prof. Frazier's alma mater!) in Ohio. His research background is in logic, and he has taught mathematics, statistics, computer science, and philosophy, but never geometry or history; so it's only natural that he will be speaking on the history of a geometric construction.

PostedApr 17, 2019