
06430685
j
2015c.00700
Park, Jungeun
Flores, Alfinio
Fermat's point from five perspectives.
Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Technol. 46, No. 3, 425441 (2015).
2015
Taylor \& Francis, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
EN
G40
Fermat point
Torricelli configuration
soap films
minimal sum of distances
doi:10.1080/0020739X.2014.979894
Summary: The Fermat point of a triangle is the point such that minimizes the sum of the distances from that point to the three vertices. Five approaches to study the Fermat point of a triangle are presented in this article. First, students use a mechanical device using masses, strings and pulleys to study the Fermat point as the one that minimizes the potential energy of the system. Second, students use soap films between parallel planes connecting three pegs. The tension on the film will be minimal when the sum of distances is minimal. Third, students use an empirical approach, measuring distances in an interactive GeoGebra page. Fourth, students use Euclidean geometry arguments for two proofs based on the Torricelli configuration, and one using Viviani's Theorem. And fifth, the kinematic method is used to gain additional insight on the size of the angles between the segments joining the Fermat point with the vertices.