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# Let OA  a, OB  b and OC  c.

 AC  c – a,
BC  c – b and BA  a – b. Since M, N and P are
mathlinE lesson  Copyright 2004 mathlinE 1 1
mid-points, OM  (c + b), ON  (c + a) and
2 2
Do not photocopy. 1
OP  (a + b). Since OM and ON are
2
Proofs of concurrency of (a) altitudes
perpendicular to BC and AC respectively,
(b) perpendicular bisectors (c) medians of any 1 1
triangle by vector methods. (Suitable for years 11, 12)  OM  BC  (c + b).(c – b) = 0 and ON  AC 
2 2
Preliminaries: (c + a).(c – a) = 0.
(1) Two non-zero vectors are perpendicular if their Hence |c|2 – |b|2 = 0 and |c|2 – |a|2 = 0,  |a| = |b| = |c|.
dot product equals zero. 1 1
OP  BA  (a + b).(a – b) = [ |a|2 – |b|2 ] = 0,
(2) If pa + qb = 0, and a and b are independent 2 2
vectors, then p = q = 0.  OP is perpendicular to BA ,  it is a
(3) If M is the mid-point of AB , then perpendicular bisector of BA . Hence the three
1 perpendicular bisectors are concurrent.
OM  (a + b). A M
2
B Concurrency of medians of any triangle
a b Proof: B

O P b M
Concurrency of altitudes of any triangle O c
Proof: B a C
A N
P b M
O AM and BN are medians and CP is a line
a c segment passing through the intersection O of AM
and BN . Let OA  a, OB  b and OC  c.
A 1 1
OM  (b + c) and ON  (a + c). Let m, n and
N 2 2
C p be some positive constants such that OM   m a,
AM and BN are altitudes and CP is a line 1
ON   n b and OP   p c.  m a  (b + c)
segment passing through the intersection O of AM 2
and BN . Let OA  a, OB  b and OC  c. 1
and nb  (a + c). From the last two equations,
 AC  c – a and b.(c – a) = 0, BC  c – b and a. 2
(c – b) = 0. –2ma – b = –2nb – a, hence (1 – 2m)a – (1 – 2n)b =
Hence b.c – b.a = 0 and a.c – a.b = 0,  b.c – a.c = 0. Since a and b are not parallel,  they are
0, independent and hence 1 – 2m = 0 and –(1 – 2n) = 0,
or (b – a).c = 0, i.e. c is perpendicular to AB and 1 1 1
i.e. m = n = .   b  (a + c) and b = –a – c.
hence CP is perpendicular to AB , i.e. CP is an 2 2 2
altitude. Hence the three altitudes are concurrent. A AP  AO  OP  –a – pc, and
similar proof can be constructed for an obtuse AB  b – a = –2a – c. Let AP  k AB where k is a
triangle. Try it as an exercise. positive constant.  –a – pc = k(–2a – c) or
(2k – 1)a + (k – p)c = 0. Since a and c are
Concurrency of perpendicular bisectors of any  1
Proof: B independent,  2k  1  0 and k  p  0 , i.e. k 
2
1
and p  .  P is the mid-point of AB and CP
2
P M is a median. Hence the three medians are concurrent
b and the intersection trisects each one.
O
a c
A N C
OM and ON are perpendicular bisectors of BC
and AC respectively, and OP bisects AB .