# An interesting way to “prove” that equilateral triangles (triangles with each side the exact same length) can

exist. Now this might seem like a no-brainer. Find a triangle, measure it, and if the measurements add up, it’s an equilateral triangle. There is nothing wrong with this method, and it was the method used by many engineers and mathematicians in ancient civilizations. But the Greeks had a problem with it. You see, the Greeks had too much free time on their hands. In the hustle-and-bustle of other civilizations, you measured what you could and if it worked, you went with it. In Greek civilizations slaves and the lower classes did all they work, they handled all the “hustle and bustle” and the Greek upper class could sit and ponder. Eventually they began to ponder something like this: “Sure, we can measure all the sides of a triangle, but let’s say we use an inch ruler and find that it’s sides are equal, but then we use a centimeter ruler (which takes smaller measurements and is more accurate) and find out that the sides are a little off?/!! And WHAT IF…we got an even more accurate ruler and found out that even a triangle that seemed equilateral when measured with a centimeter ruler was also a little bit off? Now, there’s no way we could get a perfectly accurate ruler since eventually the measurements would be too small for us to see, so what if, in reality, there ARE NO equilateral triangles? What if all the equilateral triangles we’ve measured so far just look equilateral because of our limited measuring techniques? If we can’t be sure that the triangles we measure are equilateral—then how can we be sure that EQUALATERAL TRIANGLES ARE EVEN POSSIBLE?” Strange, I know. But this is how the Greeks were, they wanted a way to PROOVE that equilateral triangles could exist, without a shadow of a doubt. This is where Geometry comes in. The Greeks used LOGIC to discover truths when things like observation and measurement weren’t enough. Logic is a way of making correct decisions about facts. In Geometry, we start with 5 facts that can’t be proven, but are considered so obvious that they don’t need to be proven. A few of these facts are: Any two points can be joined by a straight line.

Makes sense doesn’t it? If you’ve ever played connect-the-dots you know what I’m talking about here. It seems very unlikely—almost impossible that two points could ever NOT be joined by a straight line

Take any straight line, and mark the two points: We’ll call one point C for “center” and one point E for “edge” C E

Now understand that there is a distance between these two points. Whoa! Whoa! I see you reaching for that measuring stick! Put it away right now! Remember the Greeks were obsessed with certainty and unless you have an infinitely accurate measuring stick on you, we can’t be certain what the distance between these two points actually is. We can however, be certain that there IS a distance between the two points, and that’s all we have to keep in mind. Since all we need to do is recognize that there IS a distance and not WHAT the distance is we’re going to use a not-real unit of measurement that I just made up called a barooga. The distance between these two points (and the length of the line connecting them) is exactly 1 barooga. Once again it seems very unlikely, if not impossible that a line could ever NOT have a length, doesn’t it? C E

1 barooga So now we have two points that are one barooga apart. Now it seems pretty obvious that we could, if we wanted to, make a another point that is also one barooga away from C. Z C E

1 barooga

1 barooga

Now, let’s see if we can’t go about locating all the points that are exactly one barooga away from C.