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Two Somewhat Similar Two-Part Problems

# Two Somewhat Similar Two-Part Problems

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Published by Jacob Richey

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Published by: Jacob Richey on Jul 13, 2011
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11/14/2013

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Two Somewhat Similar Two-Part Problems
The first is as follows: Prove that any map composed of regions defined by a number of straight lines in the plane istwo colorable. An example is given below: The proof is by induction on the number of lines. Suppose first that the number of lines,
N
, has
N
=0; the planeitself is certainly 2 colorable, as it is 1 colorable.Now suppose every map formed by
k
lines is 2 colorable, and take an arbitrary map of
k
1 lines. Remove arandom line from the diagram; then the resulting
k
-line diagram is 2 colorable. Color the map in that way, andreplace the removed line. Now the graph is clearly not yet colored properly, as every region the replaced line dividesis now two adjacent regions of the same color. To fix this, we consider every region of the
k
1-line diagram to oneside of the replaced line and switch its color (if the two colors were black and white, then a black region becomes white and vice versa). We will prove that this newly colored map is colored properly, that is that no two adjacent regions have the samecolor. Consider two regions that are both adjacent to our
k
1
th
line and adjacent to each other. If they are on thesame side of the
k
1
st
line, they are properly colored because they were in the
k
-line diagram and switching bothof their colors retains the property (if they were both on the side that got the switch). If they are on opposite sides,then the new line is the side they share (since any adjacent regions only share one side). Thus, they were the samecolor until the switch, when one switched color
the two regions are now properly colored.Next, consider two regions: one adjacent to the new line, and the other
not
adjacent to the line, with the two border-ing each other. If the two are on the same side of the new line, then they were properly colored beforehand, andremain so after the color switch since both regions' colors were switched or both weren't. As well, any two regions on the same side, (with neither adjacent to the new line), are colored properly since they  were in the
k
-line diagram.Finally, we must deal with the remaining cases: two touching regions on opposite sides with one adjacent to the
k
1
st
line, and two touching regions on opposite sides with neither adjacent to that line. We will prove that suchregions do not exist: for suppose two such regions did exist. They share some side, (by definition of being adjacent),that is there exists a line they both border. This line cannot be the
k
1
st
line (by definition), nor can it be parallelto that line (since then it couldn't border regions on both sides of the line). Thus it must intersect that line some- where; consider that point of intersection. There may be other lines passing through the point, but WLOG it lookslike this:

The
k
1
st
line
Two regions can only be adjacent in this diagram if they share the reintroduced line, which contradicts the definitionof the regions in these cases by definition. Therefore no such regions exist, and the coloring does work.
The structure of this proof is solid though it seems lengthy: after establishing the base case and the recursivecoloring method, considering each of the different region adjacency cases and showing that each of them is satisfied. The book I found this problem in offers a slightly simpler way of proving that the same coloring works (while stillusing the same cases, i.e. considering regions adjacent to the new line as separate from those that aren't). The latterpart of the book's proof is as follows:"The plane is now properly colored. For if two of the regions into which the plane is divided by the
k
1
linesadjoin each other along one of the first
k
lines, then they must have different colors. (The reason is that they hadopposite colors before, which have either remained unchanged or both been changed.) If two regions touch along the
k
1
st
line, then before this line was reintroduced they were part of the same region and thus had the samecolor. But we changed the colors on one side of the line and not the other, so that now they have opposite colors. Thus the coloring we have constructed satisfies the conditions of the problem, and the theorem is proved."Interestingly, there is a very similar problem that yields to the same solution: Prove that an arrangement of circles inthe plane defines regions that are 2-colorable. An example is givenbelow:
2

Two Somewhat Similar Two-Part Problems.nb

We prove the theorem again by induction: if there are no circles, certianly the plane is 2 colorable. Now assume thetheorem is true for any arrangement of
k
(distinct) circles, and consider an arbitrary arrangement of
k
1 circles.Once again we remove a random circle, color the
k
-circle diagram as garaunteed, and add the last circle back in.Finally, we switch the color of every region on the inside of the new circle, and leave each region outside the new circle the same color. Now suppose a pair of regions is divided by one of the first
k
circles: then the two regions areboth on the inside of the final circle or both on the outside, since otherwise they would be adjoined along the
k
1
st
circle. Thus, they have different colors (since they had different colors originally). As well, if two regions areadjoined along the new circle, one has had its color switched and the other not
the coloring works.
This proof is nearly identical to that of our first problem, and I know why: often in projective geometry mathemati-cians consider transformations. Though I am not completely familiar with the structures such investigations use, Ido know that under so called "Mobius Transformations" (this may be wrong, but I am
sure
that there is a set of transformations that takes) lines to circles and circles to lines, and I think it likely that the properties of this problemare preserved under those transformations. I have a "transformation" of my own that may convince you: consider acircle with a fixed point at the origin. I will increase the radius of this circle without bound: then the circle willeventually look exactly like a line locally as the radius goes to infinity. I will look for a formal way to transform oneproblem into the other. The "second" problem is as follows: Prove that the edges any graph (i.e. an arrangement of points and edgesconnecting them) with the property that any vertex has degree 2 or less (i.e. any vertex has 2 or fewer edges con-nected to it) can always be 3 colored, and may not be 2 colorable. A good way to think of a graph is roads connect-ing cities: any road connects exactly two cities. The roads may be curved but cannot cross over one another. By a"coloring" of the edges we mean giving each edge a color so that any two edges that meet at a vertex have differentcolor. The proof is of the same structure as that of the first problem, but simpler. I should rather call the method an"exploratory recursive construction," as we will see how to color any graph with 3 colors, and in doing so realizethat 2 colors are not sufficient. We proceed by induction on the number of vertices: suppose that there is only one vertex. Then there are no edges, so certainly they are 3 colorable.Now assume that every graph of
k
vertices is 3 colorable, and consider an arbitrary graph of
k
1 distinct vertices.Remove a random vertex from the graph, as well as any edges connecting to that vertex. The remaining graph still
Two Somewhat Similar Two-Part Problems.nb
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