## Pythagorean Theorem, Distance Formula, and Equation of a Circle

In my Algebraic and Geometric Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem post, we have learned that a right triangle with side lengths $a$ and $b$ and hypotenuse length $c$, the sum of the squares of $a$ and $b$ is equal to the square of $c$. Placing it in equation form we have $c^2 = a^2 + b^2$. If we place the triangle in the coordinate plane, having $A$ and $B$ coordinates of $(x_1,y_1)$ and $(x_2,y_2)$ respectively, it is clear that the length of $AC$ is $|x_2 - x_1|$ and the length of $BC$ is $|x_2 - x_1|$.  We are finding the length, which means that we want a positive value; the absolute value signs guarantee that the result of the operation is always positive. But in the final equation, $c^2 = |x_2 - x_1|^2 + |y_2-y_1|^2$, the absolute value sign is not needed since we squared all the terms, and squared numbers are always positive. Getting the square root of both sides we have, $c = \sqrt{|x_2 - x_1|^2 + |y_2-y_1|^2}$

We say that $c$ is the distance between $A$ and $B$, and we call the formula above, the distance formula. » Read more 