You are on page 1of 2

Langley’s 20-80-80 isosceles triangle problem

Andrew Jobbings
www.arbelos.co.uk

15 December 2004

The problem is a classic, named after Edward M Langley, who set it in The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 11, No. 160 (Oct., 1922), p. 173. However, the problem is older than this; it appears, for example, in a Cambridge college scholarship examination of 1916. There are many solutions—we give here what is perhaps the neatest solution, which involves making a far from obvious construction.

Langley’s problem
In triangle ABC , ∠A = 20◦ and AB = AC . The point D lies on AC so that ∠DBC = 60◦ and the point E lies on AB so that ∠ECB = 50◦ . Find the size of ∠ BDE .

A

20

D E

60 B

50 C

1

2 .uk/papers.co. A 20 D p E X 60 B Then EB = BC = BX ( EBC has equal base angles) ( BCX has equal base angles).www. we conclude that p = 70 − 40 = 30. 20 50 C Hence EBX is equilateral (EB = BX and ∠EBX = 60◦ ) and EX = BX (equilateral triangle) = XD ( BXD has equal base angles). Therefore EXD is isosceles.arbelos.html c Andrew Jobbings 2004 Solution Construct X on CD so that ∠XBC = 20◦ . as shown in the following figure. so that ∠XDE = 70◦ . Since p◦ = ∠XDE − ∠XDB. But ∠EXD = 180◦ − ∠EXB − ∠ BXC = 180◦ − 60◦ − 80◦ = 40◦ .