James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, came up with an original proof of the Pythagorean Theorem in 1876 when he was still a Congressman. His proof was published in New England Journal of Education.
Recall that the Pythagorean Theorem states that given a right triangle with sides , , and hypotenuse , the following equation is always satisified:
President Garfield’s proof is quite simple. We can do this in three steps:
- Find the area of figure above using the trapezoid
- Find the area of the same figure using the three triangles
- Equate the results in 1 and 2. » Read more