Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Constructing a regular heptagon


... is impossible. I looked online for tips on how to construct a regular heptagon, and this is the answer I got:

A regular heptagon is not constructible with compass and straightedge but is constructible with a marked ruler and compass. This type of construction is called a Neusis construction. It is also constructible with compass, straightedge and angle trisector. The impossibility of straightedge and compass construction follows from the observation that 2cos(2π/7) ≈ 1.247 is a zero of the irreducible cubic x3 + x2 - 2x - 1. Consequently this polynomial is the minimal polynomial of 2cos(2π/7), whereas the degree of the minimal polynomial for a constructible number must be a power of 2.

What I heard: "......................................................"


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