1964 IMO Problems/Problem 5

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Suppose five points in a plane are situated so that no two of the straight lines joining them are parallel, perpendicular, or coincident. From each point perpendiculars are drawn to all the lines joining the other four points. Determine the maximum number of intersections that these perpendiculars can have.


Suppose, those five points are $(A, B, C, D, E)$. Now, we want to create some special structure. Let, we take the line $BC$ and draw a perpendicular from $A$ on $BC$, andd call it $P_1$. We can do this set up in $\binom{5}{1}\binom{4}{2}=30$ ways. There will $30$ such $P_i$ s.

Now, we will find how many other perpendiculars intersect the line. We can do this in total $20$ ways. Why? See, can draw perpendiculars from $B$ and $C$ to other lines( we haven't counted the perpendicular from $B$ to $AC$ and perpendicular from $C$ on $AB$ , as they intersect $P_1$ at the same point) in $5$ ways for each. So, total $10$ ways.

Now, $5$ perpendiculars from each $D$ and $E$ on the other lines except on $BC$( because in this case teh perpendiculars from $D$ and $E$ will be parallel to $P_1$ , and so shall not intersect). So,total $10$ cases. From, these two cases we get $P_1$ will be intersected at at most $5*6*(5+5+5+5)=600$ points.

But, as we have passed this algorithm over all the five points, we have counted each intersection points twice. So, there are total $\frac{600}{2}=300$ ways.

Now, as we had excluded the orthocentres, we have to add now. There are total $\binom{5}{3}=10$ orthocentres. Also we should add those vertices as these are also point of intersection of silimar perpendiculars, there are $5$ such.

So, total ways $300+10+5=315$.

See Also

1964 IMO (Problems) • Resources
Preceded by
Problem 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 Followed by
Problem 6
All IMO Problems and Solutions