Let’s Talk About Symmedians!

Sammy Luo and Cosmin Pohoata

Abstract

We will introduce symmedians from scratch and prove an entire collection of interconnected results that characterize them. Symmedians represent a very important topic in Olympiad Geometry since they have a lot of interesting properties that can be exploited in problems. But first, what are they? Definition. In a triangle ABC , the reflection of the A-median in the A-internal angle bisector is called the A-symmedian of triangle ABC. Similarly, we can define the B -symmedian and the C -symmedian of the triangle.

A

I B X M C

Figure 1: The A-symmedian AX Do we always have symmedians? Well, yes, only that we have some weird cases when for example ABC is isosceles. Then, if, say AB = AC , then the A-median and the A-internal angle bisector coincide; thus, the A-symmedian has to coincide with them. Now, symmedians are concurrent from the trigonometric form of Ceva’s theorem, since we can just cancel out the sines. This concurrency point is called the symmedian point or the Lemoine point of triangle ABC , and it is usually denoted by K . //As a matter of fact, we have the more general result. Theorem -1. Let P be a point in the plane of triangle ABC . Then, the reflections of the lines AP, BP, CP in the angle bisectors of triangle ABC are concurrent. This concurrency point is called the isogonal conjugate of the point P with respect to the triangle ABC . We won’t dwell much on this more general notion here; we just prove a very simple property that will lead us immediately to our first characterization of symmedians.

Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013)

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for any point P on the line AX . then AB 2 BD BE · = CD CE AC 2 A B E D C Figure 2: Theorem 0 Proof. we obtain that BD BE AB 2 · = . we have that δ (X. For any point P on AX . by multiplying. we write DB AB sin DAB EB AB sin EAB = · and = · . Characterization 1. AB ) = δ (P. the ratio of the distances from P to the sides is independent of the point P chosen on AX. AB ) AB = = δ (P. Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 2 . AB ) δ (P. the claim is the following. Characterization 2. Obviously. This represents what is perhaps the most important characterization of the A-symmedian of the triangle and all the results that we will prove next will return to this. Let ABC be a triangle and let X be a point on the side BC . AC ) In other words. If D is a point on the sideline BC of triangle ABC . we thus get the following result. CD CE AC 2 as claimed. we have that XB AB 2 = XC AC 2 if and only if AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . AC ) δ (X. AB ) δ (X. In a triangle ABC with X on the side BC . we have that δ (P. From the Ratio Lemma. AC ) δ (X. DC AC sin DAC EC AC sin EAC Thus.Theorem 0 (Steiner’s Theorem). more or less. Now. keeping in mind that ∠DAB = ∠EAC and ∠DAC = ∠EAB . AC ) AC if and only if AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . and if the reflection of the line AD in the internal angle bisector of the angle A intersects the line BC at a point E . As a corollary.

δ (P. AB ) AB = = δ (P. we get that AX is the A-symmedian and only if sin XAB AB = . AB ) δ (X. AC ) sin XAC Hence.A P B X Figure 3: Characterization 2 Proof. AB ) δ (X. sin XAC AC But for any point P on AX . by now using the Ratio Lemma. C X T V U A S B C Figure 4: Characterization 3 Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 3 . By Characterization 1. AC ) δ (X. we immediately obtain the conclusion that δ (P. XC AC 2 Hence. AC ) AC if and only if AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . AB ) sin XAB = = . we have that δ (P. AC ) δ (X. we know that AX is the A-symmedian if and only if XB AB 2 = .

being the circumcenter of triangle AT V . since after that we could just repeat the argument for EY and F Z and conclude that K is the centroid of DEF . AC ) = 1 of segments AV and AT . For the direct implication. Let M N be a line parallel to the side BC of a triangle ABC . N C ) CN AC hence AQ is the A-symmedian of ABC . The lines BN and CM meet at point P . E . CA. The point X . A M B P N C Q Figure 5: Characterization 4 Proof. Let X be the circumcenter of triangle AT V . with M on the side AB and N on the side AC . we have that δ (X. AC ) AV AC and so by Characterization 2. Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 4 . We would like to show that X is the midpoint of EF . AC ) δ (Q. Let ABC be a triangle and let ACU V and ABST be the squares constructed on the sides which are directed towards the exterior of the triangle. AB ) = 2 2 AV . the line AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . by Characterization 2. The symmedian point K of triangle ABC is the only point in the plane of ABC which is the centroid of its own pedal triangle. let D. F be the projections of K on the sides BC . Characterization 5 (Lemoine’s Pedal Triangle Theorem). So. δ (X. AB and take X to be the intersection of DK with EF . Proof. Note that ∠BQM = ∠BP M = ∠CP N = ∠CQN and ∠M BQ = ∠CP Q = ∠CN Q. M B ) BM AB = = = . thus triangles BQM and N QC are similar. we get that δ (Q. thus. Then. δ (Q.Characterization 3. we get that δ (X. we get that AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . lies on the line bisectors 1 AT and δ (X. AB ) AT AB = = . Then. The circumcircles of triangles BM P and CN P meet at two distinct points P and Q. Proof. Hence. AB ) δ (Q. the line AQ is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . Characterization 4 (BMO 2009).

we conclude that K needs to lie on the A-symmedian. Then. KF AC Hence. Since this point lies in the interior of the segment BC . K obviously lies on the A-symmedian. F so that XE KE sin XKE 1= = · . KE δ (K. In this case. by Characterization 1. AB ) AB Furthermore.A F Y B D Figure 6: Characterization 5 By the Ratio Lemma. we know that XE KE sin XKE = · . we conclude that XE AC sin C AC AB = · = · = 1. Now. AC ) AC = = . KF δ (K. As for the converse. things are essentially similar. by Characterization 2. E. Proof. Characterization 6. thus we get that K is the symmedian point of the triangle. ∠XKE = ∠C and ∠XKF = ∠B since the quadrilaterals KDCE and KF BD are cyclic. the line AX would represent the A-symmedian and we X K Z E C Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 5 . XF AB sin B AB AC This proves that X is the midpoint of EF and settles the direct implication. we know that K is a point having projections D. Let the tangents at vertices B and C of triangle ABC to the circumcircle meet at a point X . we immediately get that KE AB = . thus. thus by Characterization 2. it is enough to AB 2 B show that T T C = AC 2 . we notice again that. XF KF sin XKF The equalities ∠XKE = ∠C and ∠XKF = ∠B coming from the cyclic quadrilaterals KDCE and KF BD are independent of K being the symmedian point. and similarly we can do that for the vertices B and C . thus. XF KF sin XKF However. the line AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . Let T be the intersection of AX with the side BC . This completes the proof.

by dividing the two relations. in triangles XAB and XAC . Hence. We get that 2 AX AX AB = = sin T XB sin XBA sin(B + XBC ) and AC AX AX = = . sin T XC sin XCA sin(C + XCB ) But ∠XBC = ∠XCB = ∠A. B sin T XB hence T T C = sin T XC . sin T XB sin C sin T XC sin B Therefore. This completes the proof.A O B T C X Figure 7: Characterization 6 B AB would be done. TC XC sin T XC but XB = XC as they are both tangents from the same point to the circumcircle of ABC . let’s prove that T T C = AC 2 . So. since the lines XB and XC are both tangent to the circumcircle of ABC . we conclude that TB sin T XB AB sin C AB 2 = = · = . Now. it follows that AX AC AX AB = and = . We have that XB sin T XB TB = · . TC sin T XC AC sin B AC 2 where the last equality holds because of the Law of Sines applied in triangle ABC . we apply the Law of Sines twice. This is where the Ratio Lemma comes in. Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 6 .

such that XB XC = AC . Well. we hope to show that so that we can use Characterization 1. AB of triangle ABC . This leads to a series of nice observations involving the Appolonius circles. hence. Proof. A I B T X O C Figure 8: Characterization 7 Note that this means nothing but that the A-symmedian is the radical axis of the circumcircle of ABC and the A-Appolonius circle. as we desire. E . TC XC sin AXC AC sin AXC TB TC = But ∠AXB = ∠C and ∠AXC = ∠B . EB . Proof. CA. the line AX is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . Again. we use the same idea as above! Let X be the intersection of AM with BC and let’s try to prove AB 2 that XB XC = AC 2 . Let T be the intersection of AX with BC .Corollary 6’. According to Characterization 1. It suffices to show that AM is the A-symmedian. Characterization 7. Again. Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 7 . Suppose X is a point of the circumcircle of ABC . F denote the tangency points of the incircle with the sides BC . Then. then the lines DA. The A-symmedian is the locus of the midpoints of the antiparallels to BC bounded by the lines AB and AC . it follows that TB TC = AB 2 AC 2 . F C are the symmedians of triangle DEF . this will mean that AX and thus AM is the A-symmedian of ABC . AB 2 AC 2 . different from AB the vertex A. If D. the Ratio Lemma gives us that TB XB sin AXB AB sin AXB = · = · . as desired. Let Y Z be an antiparallel to the line BC with Y on AB and Z on AC and let M be the midpoint of Y Z . Characterization 8.

This is called the First Lemoine Circle of triangle ABC. By Characterization 8. BC . we know that KXb = KXc . KZa = KZb . z on the sides of ABC all lie on one circle. Hence. y. z are antiparallels. Moreover.e. Proof. some very nice applications of these due to Lemoine. gives us MY AY sin M AY 1= = · . and AB . More precisely. Thus. let Yc . Xc be the intersections of x with CA. respectively.A Z Y B M X C Figure 9: Characterization 8 We use again the Ratio Lemma. Ya be the intersections of y with AB . Let K be the symmedian point of triangle ABC and let x. The Ratio Lemma applied again. KYa = KZa .remember that Y Z is antiparallel to BC . we have that XB AB sin XAB AB sin M AY = · = · . This also admits a nice converse which we will use. if some segment bounded by the lines AB and AC is bisected by the A-symmedian. MZ AZ sin M AZ hence sin M AY AZ AB = = . XC AC sin XAC AC sin M AZ And from the way we wrote the angles ∠XAB and ∠XAC in the last term. only this time in triangle AY Z . Prove that the six points determined by x. and Za . we conclude that XB AB 2 = . Theorem 9 (The First Lemoine Circle). Let Xb . CA. since y. thus triangle KYa Za is isosceles. KYc = KYa . z be the antiparallels drawn through K to the lines BC . we have that ∠KZa Ya = ∠KYa Za = ∠A. Moreover. Now. Similarly. y. i. we can do the Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 8 . respectively. then it has to be antiparallel with the line BC . Zb the intersections of z with BC . CA. AB . we already know what’s the next step. sin M AZ AY AC where the last equality holds because of the similarity of triangles ABC and AZY . XC AC 2 which completes the proof. More precisely. KYa = KZa = KYc = KZb .

and z meet CA. given this name. and thus the line AK bisects the segment Yc Zb . Prove that the six points determined by x. AK is the A-symmedian of triangle ABC . Yc . Indeed. Za . Zb lie on one circle that is centered at K . Yc . Ya need Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 9 . Let K be the symmedian point of the triangle ABC and let x. Thus.Yc A Zb Xb K Xc B Za Ya C Figure 10: Theorem 9 same thing for triangles KXb Zb . Of course. and AB . First. you expect to have a second Lemoine circle. However. Ya . we conclude that KZa = KYa = KXb = KZb = KYc = KXc . hence the line supporting the segment Yc Zb needs to be antiparallel to BC . This completes the proof. Xb . Zb all need to lie on one circle. so we also have that KXb = KZb and KYc = KXc . Za . CA. z on the sides of ABC all lie on one circle. Let the line x meet AC and AB at Xb and Xc . Za . we get that Yc . Therefore. BA at Ya . Xc . Xc . y meet BC . z this time be the parallels drawn through K to BC . Xc . this is the case! Theorem 10 (The Second Lemoine Circle). hence. y. the points Yc . KYc Xc to argue that they are isosceles. A Zb Yc Xc K Xb B Za Ya Figure 11: Theorem 10 C Proof. CB at Zb . say Γ1 . y. respectively. Similarly. ∠AZb Yc = ∠B = ∠Yc Xc Xb . note that AYc KZb is a parallelogram. according to the converse we gave for Characterization 8. so we get that all six points Xb .

This completes the proof. The reason goes as follows. Let ABC be a triangle and let M be the midpoint of BC and X be the midpoint of the A-altitude of ABC . and the points Za . in the first place. Xc . However. Ya . for otherwise. Theorem 11. Zb need to lie on one circle Γ3 . the radical axis of the pairs are not concurrent (since they are just the sidelines of the triangle!) and that’s impossible. First Proof. these three circles need to be the same. Ya . Za . A A Yc X Zb Xb F X D E K Xc K B Za M Ya C B DM C Za Ya Figure 12: Two Proofs of Theorem 11 Note that this means you can draw the symmedian point of ABC as the intersection point of the lines determined by the midpoints of the sides and the midpoints of the altitudes. The locus of the centers of the rectangles inscribed in triangle ABC and having one side on BC is precisely the line M X ! Why? Well. Xb . Yc . Thus. First. let us see how these rectangles are obtained. Take a 10 Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) . Zb are concyclic. Prove that the symmedian point of ABC lies on the line M X . Γ1 = Γ2 = Γ3 and so all six points Xb . it is a line.to lie on one circle Γ2 .

the reader is encouraged to fill in the details. X2 on BC . Princeton University. recall from the proof of Theorem 9 that KZb = KYc = KZa = KYa . respectively. hence the locus is precisely the line M X . Notice that since K is the centroid of triangle DEF (Characterization 5). Let D. Erect the perpendiculars to BC at the vertices B and C and intersect these perpendiculars with the lines AX1 . thus D E KF and D F KE . AD needs to be the A-median. respectively. showing that K lies on the line M X is the same thing as showing that D lies on the A-median AM . X2 . hence D is the orthocenter of triangle AEF .com Cosmin Pohoata: 215 1938 Hall. so K is the midpoint of segment DD . CA. Now. But this is now rather straightforward to see. USA E-mail address: apohoata@princeton. F KED is a parallelogram. so AD is perpendicular to EF . it is clear that the midpoint of BC and the midpoint of the A-altitude belong to this line. Let D be the reflection of D in K .edu Mathematical Reflections 4 (2013) 11 . Hence. as its diagonals bisect one another. AB . Now. Second Proof. Sammy Luo: NC School of Science and Mathematics E-mail address: antimonyarsenide@gmail. thus since the locus of the centers of the rectangles BCX2 X1 is the perpendicular bisector of BC (and thus a line). However. KF and KE are perpendicular to AB and AC . why does K lie on this line M X ? Well. since they are the centers of the two degenerate rectangles inscribed in ABC with one side on BC . AX2 at two points X1 . Then the rectangle X1 X2 Y1 Z1 is the image of the rectangle BCX2 X1 under a homothety with center A. Since DD is parallel to the A-altitude. E . so Za Ya Zb Yc is a rectangle inscribed in ABC with Za Ya on BC with center K . F be the projections of the symmedian point K on the sides BC . because K is the center of a rectangle inscribed in ABC which has one side on BC ! Indeed. it follows that the locus of the centers of rectangles X1 X2 Y1 Z1 is also a line (the image of the perpendicular bisector under a certain rotation composed with a certain homothety!) . hence D E AF and D F AE .rectangle X1 X2 Y1 Z1 inscribed in ABC with X1 .