Do Circles Have Corners?Date: 08/06/99 at 22:28:50 From: Anderson Kazuo Tanaka Subject: Corners in Circles? My question is whether circles have corners. I believe that circles could have corners because a circle is a continuous line, and what stops it from becoming a straight line is an angle. To have an angle there needs to be a corner - even if the corner is microscopic, it's there. I would like to know your answer. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Anderson Kazuo Tanaka Date: 08/07/99 at 10:14:31 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Corners in Circles? Hi, Anderson. There is a sense in which you could say that a circle is "all corner," if you just think of a corner as a turning point, since the circle is always turning. But technically a corner, or 'vertex' in more mathematical terminology, is a point where two straight edges of a figure meet, and a circle has no straight edges, so it can have no corners. A circle can be seen as the limit of a set of polygons with increasing numbers of edges. If we approximate the circle by, say, a "googolgon" with a huge number of edges, then we will have many microscopic corners. But when you go from polygons to the actual circle, you no longer have any edges or corners, only a smooth curve. Without edges, you have no angles or corners. If you have not yet learned about limits, and about calculus, which lets us work with continuously changing quantities and curves, you can look forward to some ideas I think you will enjoy. Your thoughts about tiny angles will tie into this, if you can wait. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
Search the Dr. Math Library: |
[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Ask Dr. Math^{TM}
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/