Was Napolean Bonaparte a Malevolent Militant or a Mathematician?

Philip LaFleur
Philip LaFleur

By Philip LaFleur, M2 OPS Cohort 1:

Most people have heard of Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous emperor of France. He was well known for being vertically challenged (short), and for his failed attempt to take over the world. What most people do not know is that Napoleon was a talented student and had a great understanding of Euclidean geometry. Napoleon had weekly meetings with well-known mathematicians of his time to discuss mathematics. Napoleon had such a good understanding of geometry that he discovered and proved the following theorem.

"If equilateral triangles are constructed on the sides of any triangle, then the centroids of the three equilateral triangles will themselves form an equilateral triangle."

Even though Napoleon was credited with this theorem, there are many who are skeptical that he discovered it.

To find out if you can follow Napoleon's alleged proof, check out Philip LaFleur's expository paper at http://scimath.unl.edu/MIM/mat.php.

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/x3e