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Concept# Descartes' theorem

Summary

In geometry, Descartes' theorem states that for every four kissing, or mutually tangent, circles, the radii of the circles satisfy a certain quadratic equation. By solving this equation, one can construct a fourth circle tangent to three given, mutually tangent circles. The theorem is named after René Descartes, who stated it in 1643.
Frederick Soddy's 1936 poem The Kiss Precise summarizes the theorem in terms of the bends (inverse radii) of the four circles:
The sum of the squares of all four bends
Is half the square of their sum
Special cases of the theorem apply when one or two of the circles is replaced by a straight line (with zero bend) or when the bends are integers or square numbers. A version of the theorem using complex numbers allows the centers of the circles, and not just their radii, to be calculated. With an appropriate definition of curvature, the theorem also applies in spherical geometry and hyperbolic geometry. In higher dimensions, an analogous quadratic equation

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