# Pythagorean Theorem Explained

**Pages:**2 (477 words)

**Published:**May 7, 2013

Where c represents the length of the hypotenuse, and a and b represent the lengths of the other two sides.

The Pythagorean Theorem is named after the Greek mathematician Pythagoras (ca. 570 BC—ca. 495 BC), who by tradition is credited with its discovery and proof.

The converse of the theorem is also true:

For any three positive numbers a, b, and c such that a2 + b2 = c2, there exists a triangle with sides a, b and c, and every such triangle has a right angle between the sides of lengths a and b. An alternative statement is:

For any triangle with sides a, b, c, if a2 + b2 = c2, then the angle between a and b measures 90°. This converse also appears in Euclid's Elements (Book I, Proposition 48): "If in a triangle the square on one of the sides equals the sum of the squares on the remaining two sides of the triangle, then the angle contained by the remaining two sides of the triangle is right."

It can be proven using the law of cosines or as follows:

Let ABC be a triangle with side lengths a, b, and c, with a2 + b2 = c2. Construct a second triangle with sides of length a and b containing a right angle. By the Pythagorean Theorem, it follows that the hypotenuse of this triangle has length c = √a2 + b2, the same as the hypotenuse of the first triangle. Since both triangles' sides are the same lengths a, b and c, the triangles are congruent and must have the same angles. Therefore, the angle...

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