1967 IMO Problems/Problem 1

Let ABCD be a parallelogram with side lengths $AB=a, AD=1$ and with $\angle BAD=\alpha$. If $\Delta ABD$ is acute, prove that the four circles of radius 1 with centers A, B, C, D cover the parallelogram if and only if

$a\leq \cos \alpha+\sqrt{3}\sin \alpha$ (1)


To start our proof we draw a parallelogram with the requested sides. We notice that by drawing the circles with centers A, B, C, D that the length of $a$ must not exceed 2 (the radius for each circle) or the circles will not meet and thus not cover the parallelogram.

[1]*

To prove our conjecture we draw a parallelogram with $a=2$ and draw a segment $DB$ so that $\angle ADB=90^{\circ}$

This is the parallelogram which we claim has the maximum length on $a$ and the highest value on any one angle.

We now have two triangles inside a parallelogram with lengths $1, 2$ and $x$, $x$ being segment $DB$. Using the Pythagorean theorem we conclude:

$1^2+x^2=2^2\\x=\sqrt{3}$

[2]*

Using trigonometric functions we can compute:

$cos\alpha=\frac{1}{2}\\sin\alpha=\frac{\sqrt{3}}{2}$

Notice that by applying the $arcsine$ and $arccos$ functions, we can conclude that our angle $\alpha=60^{\circ}$

To conclude our proof we make sure that our values match the required values for maximum length of $a$

$a\leq\cos\alpha+\sqrt{3}\sin\alpha\\\\a\leq\frac{1}{2}+\sqrt{3}\cdot \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2}\\\\a\leq 2$

Notice that as $\angle\alpha$ decreases, the value of (1) increases beyond 2. We can prove this using the law of sines. Similarly as $\angle\alpha$ increases, the value of (1) decreases below 2, confirming that (1) is only implied when $\Delta ABD$ is acute.

*Images are to be used as guidance and are not drawn to scale.

--Bjarnidk 02:16, 17 May 2013 (EDT)

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