Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Center of Circle

About 5 years back, when I was doing my graduation at Cochin University my classmate Hari (he is now doing his PhD @ IISc) asked me ‘how do you think someone found that the circle got a center’.

How wildly a human must have thought, to arrive at a conclusion for finding a ‘center’ and proving that it is lying at an equal distance from all the points joining the circle?

We even started considering the visible circular objects in nature which includes sun & moon! We were perplexed with the idea of someone ‘thinking’ that there could be a point somewhere inside a circle and it could be equidistant from the center.

We considered the wheels, but a wheel can be made only after finding a center !!

The question remained unanswered.

‘Don’t reinvent the wheel! ’ – Someone told us. Still, it was not easy for us to ignore the fact that we couldn’t even understand the history of arriving at an idea of how the center of the circle was formed.

We knew what is radius? , what is perimeter? Except the very basic fact of understanding how could a person even think of an idea of ‘center’.

I still remember the day when we both went to the Thrikkakkara temple pond, which is near to our campus. While playing with water, accidentally I started dripping the water droplets on to the pond and saw ripples (circles) forming!!

Eureka!! Each droplet of water creates ripples (circles) which are equidistant from the point where droplet was dropped. We could hardly wait to see more circles and the idea of identifying the center was more than clear to us!!

We must have spent more than an hour by just dropping water droplets and watching the beauty of ripples!!!

You know, ripples are always beautiful, no matter how long you see! And so is the center of circle!

[PS: 1. Hari, excuse me for sharing without permission. 2. I tried to upload an image of ripple, unfortunately I am told that 'Unable to upload image' :(]

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