# Alphabet of Lines: Geometric Construction Essay

Because of the prominent place Greek geometric constructions held in Euclid's Elements, these constructions are sometimes also known as Euclidean

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Simple algebraic operations such as , , (for a rational number), , , and can be performed using geometric constructions (Bold 1982, Courant and Robbins 1996). Other more complicated constructions, such as the solution of Apollonius' problem and the construction of inverse points can also accomplished.

One of the simplest geometric constructions is the construction of a bisector of a line segment, illustrated above.

The Greeks were very adept at constructing polygons, but it took the genius of Gauss to mathematically determine which constructions were possible and which were not. As a result, Gauss determined that a series of polygons (the smallest of which has 17 sides; the heptadecagon) had constructions unknown to the Greeks. Gauss showed that the constructible polygons (several of which are illustrated above) were closely related to numbers called the Fermat primes.

Wernick (1982) gave a list of 139 sets of three located points from which a triangle was to be