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**A generalization of the Fermat-Torricelli point
**

Michael de Villiers It is possible to generalize the result involving the Fermat-Torricelli point to similar triangles or similar isosceles triangles on the sides as follows: "If similar triangles DBA, CBE and CFA are constructed outwardly on the sides of any ABC, then DC, EA and FB are concurrent ". "If similar isosceles triangles DBA, ECB and FAC are constructed outwardly on the sides of any ABC so that ∠DAB = ∠DBA , then DC, EA and FB are concurrent ". With regard to the first case note: (a) if a = 1 (∠B + ∠C ) , b = 1 (∠A + ∠C ) and c = 1 (∠A + ∠B ) , then DC, EA and FB 2 2 2 are the angle bisectors of triangle ABC (b) if triangles DBA, CBE and CFA are congruent, then DC, EA and BF are the altitudes of triangle ABC. Also note with regard to the second case above: (c) if a = 0˚, then DC, EA and FB are the medians of triangle ABC. These two results are therefore nice generalizations of the familiar concurrencies of the angle bisectors, altitudes and medians. However, a further unifying generalization is possible, for example: "If triangles DBA, ECB and FAC are constructed outwardly on the sides of any ∆ABC so that ∠DAB = ∠CAF , ∠DBA = ∠CBE and ∠ECB = ∠ACF then DC, EA and FB are concurrent." To prove this result it is first necessary to prove the following lemma. A

B

Y

C

D

X

E

Figure 3.11

Published in The Mathematical Gazette, 79(485), 374-378, July 1995. All rights reserved by the Mathematical Association.

Lemma Triangle ABC is given. Extend AB and AC to D and E respectively so that DE//BC. Choose any point Y on BC and extend AY to X on DE (see Figure 3.11). Then BY/YC = DX/XE. Proof Since triangles ABY and ADX are similar we have BY/YA = DX/XA and therefore BY = (YA/XA).DX ... (1). Similarly from the similarity of triangles ACY and AEX we have CY = (YA/XA).EX ... (2). Dividing (1) by (2), gives BY/YC = DX/XE, the desired result. Proof of the Fermat generalization Assume that the lines we want to prove concurrent intersect BC, CA and AB

respectively at X, Y and Z. Extend AB to G and AC to H so that GEH//BC (see Figure 3.12). Label BE, EC, CF, FA, AD and DB respectively as s1 ,s 2 ,s3 , s4 ,s5 and s6 . Then

∠BGE = ∠ABC and ∠BEG = b .

Figure 3.12 According to the sine rule:

Published in The Mathematical Gazette, 79(485), 374-378, July 1995. All rights reserved by the Mathematical Association.

GE s1 = sin(∠GBE) sin(∠ABC ) GE s1 = sin(b + ∠ABC ) sin(∠ABC ) GE = s1 sin( b + ∠ABC ) sin( ∠ABC )

Similarly we obtain

EH = s 2 sin( c + ∠ACB ) . sin (∠ACB )

**According to the preceding Lemma therefore
**

BX GE s1 sin( b + ∠ABC ) sin (∠ACB ) = = ⋅ . XC EH sin( ∠ABC ) s2 sin( c + ∠ACB )

**In the same way we have
**

CY s 3 sin( c + ∠ACB ) sin(∠CAB) = ⋅ YA sin(∠ACB ) s4 sin (a + ∠CAB ) AZ s 5 sin (a + ∠CAB ) sin(∠ABC ) = ⋅ ZB sin( ∠CAB ) s6 sin( b + ∠ABC ) BX CY AZ s1 s 3 s 5 Therefore, ⋅ ⋅ = ⋅ ⋅ ... (3) XC YA ZB s 2 s 4 s6

**Applying the sine rule to triangles ECB, FAC and DBA we obtain
**

s1 sin( c) s3 sin( a) s5 sin (b) = ; = ; = s 2 sin(b ) s4 sin(c ) s6 sin (a)

BX CY AZ ⋅ ⋅ = 1 so that AX, BY and CZ are XC YA ZB concurrent according to the converse of Ceva's theorem (see Problem 3). But then EA, FB and DC are also concurrent.

By substitution into (3) therefore The author has since learned of an earlier and rather simpler proof of this generalization given by A. R. Pargeter in The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 47, no. 364, pp. 218-219, and an even earlier 1936 proof by N. Alliston in The Mathematical Snack Bar by W. Hoffer, pp. 13-14. (These earlier proofs, however, do not mention the interesting associated result given in Equation (3) above, namely, that the product of the given side ratios of the constructed triangles (or their reciprocals) is always equal to 1).

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UsefulNot usefulThis 1995 Math Gazette paper generalizes the Fermat-Torricelli point of a triangle.

This 1995 Math Gazette paper generalizes the Fermat-Torricelli point of a triangle.

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