Napoleon’s Theorem

First I want to thank an anonymous Person who Formulated this Post for me.

Napoleon’s Theorem:

Let ABC be a triangle. Let equilateral triangles be constructed outward at each side of the triangle ABC. Then the midpoints of these equilateral triangles are the vertices of another equilateral triangle.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 10.11.22 AM


We use vector calculus. Let A, B, C denote the vectors pointing to the vertices.  By translating the tirangle so that the barycenter of it becomes the origin, we may assume that

(1)       A+B+C=0

Let R be a the linear map which turns each vector by 60 degrees to the right. Note that R^3 = -1and for every vector X we have the identity

(2)     R^2 X  = RX – X

The tip of the equilateral triangle above the side from A to B is


The center of this equilateral triangle is then


Using (1), we may write this as

(3)    ((B-C)+ R(A-B))/3

By symmetry the centers of the other equilateral triangles are

(4)   ((C-A)+R(B-C))/3

(5)   ((A-B)+R(C-A))/3

We need to prove that these three points are permuted when we rotate by 120 degrees aound the origin, that is R^2. For simplicity we may multiply the three vectors by 3. Applying R^2 to 3 times expression (3) gives


Applying (2) and the fact R^3=-1 turns this into


This evidently is three times (4). By symmetry, the three points (3),(4),(5) are permuted when rotated by R^2, which proves that they form an equilateral triangle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s