Trisecting an Angle Using Tschirnhaus's Cubic

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This Demonstration illustrates a property of Tschirnhaus's cubic, which has polar equation . Namely, that the angle between the tangent and the normal to the radius vector at a given point on the curve is one-third of the polar angle of the point.

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To trisect a given angle , draw the radius vector (red) from the origin, making that angle with the axis, to meet at a point on the curve. Construct the tangent (green) and the normal to the radius vector (green) at the point. The angle between these two lines is . So the angle is .

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Contributed by: Izidor Hafner (January 2013)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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The curve is also known as Catalan's trisectrix or l'Hospital's cubic.



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