Using NonEuclid - My First Triangle
NonEuclid uses a bounded, two-dimensional, model (the
Poincaré Model) of a particular Non-Euclidean Geometry called Hyperbolic
Geometry. The large empty circle that appears when you first start NonEuclid
is called the "Boundary Circle". This boundary circle is the graphing
area of the screen and it contains the entire, infinite, two-dimensional
The Hyperbolic Geometry Triangle, ABC , shown above looks bent. Actually,
the three sides that make it up are, in Hyperbolic Geometry, perfectly
straight lines! Most straight lines in Hyperbolic Geometry appear
curved when viewed from our normal Euclidean Geometry. If you could
somehow be transported inside a world of Hyperbolic Geometry, then all
of the "straight lines" shown in this simulation would appear perfectly
straight to your vision.
The following steps lead you through the construction of the Hyperbolic
Select the "Draw Line Segment" option from
the "Constructions" Menu. This will cause the "Draw Line Segment"
Dialog to appear.
Move the mouse inside the boundary circle.
Click the mouse somewhere inside the boundary circle.
This will cause a point to be plotted. After plotting this first
point, notice that as you move the mouse inside the boundary circle "Length
= " followed by a number is printed in a text box within the "Draw Line
Segment" dialog box. This length is the distance from the first point
you plotted to the current location of the mouse.
Click the mouse in a second place inside the boundary
circle. This will cause a second point to be plotted and a
straight line to be drawn between the two points.
Click the mouse on one of the endpoints of your new
line segment. Then move the mouse to a third point and click
again. This will cause a second straight line segment to be drawn.
Two sides of your triangle are now complete.
Construct the third side by clicking on the two open
endpoints. Your First Hyperbolic Geometry Triangle is now
You can now measure angles and the length of the sides of your triangle
by selecting the "Measure Triangle" command from the "Measurements" Menu.
Notice that the sum of the three angles of your triangle is LESS THEN 180°.
More Exercises for Getting Started:
Now that you have successfully constructed and measured a triangle,
it would be a good idea to get a "feel" for this strange geometry.
Construct lots of lines and see if you can notice any patterns. Some
straight, Hyperbolic Lines appear to be very curved, and others appear
almost perfectly straight. Can you predict which pairs of points
will determine straight looking straight, hyperbolic lines, and which will
produce curved looking straight, hyperbolic lines? Do straight, hyperbolic
lines appear curve toward the center, toward the boundary or sometimes
toward the center and sometimes toward the boundary? Given
two points, try to predict the approximate path of straight, hyperbolic
line that passes through them.
Another good way to use NonEuclid is to open your regular high school
geometry book to the section called "Constructions With a Straight Edge
and Compass". Try to duplicate these constructions in NonEuclid.
Some of them will work perfectly (but look quit odd), and others will totally
fail. Try to figure out why.
Next Topic - Exercises - How to get started Exploring
Copyright©: Joel Castellanos, 1994-2002