Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Compass and Straightedge Construction Challenges

Ancient Greek Geometry from Nico Disseldorp's Science vs. Magic is a simple but elegant applet which gives compass and straightedge constructions the feel of a game. You start with two points and are given a list of things to construct, along with the number of steps in which you ought to be able to complete each construction. Click on two points and you create a line segment between them. Click one point and drag and you get a circle centered at that point. You score when you complete each construction, and score more when you do it within the number of steps prescribed. The first task is Proposition 1 of Book 1 of Euclid's Elements. The applet works equally well on a tablet or a standard computer.