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# Affine geometry

In affine geometry, one uses Playfair's axiom to find the line through C1 and pa
rallel to B1B2, and to find the line through B2 and parallel to B1C1: their inte
rsection C2 is the result of the indicated translation.
In mathematics, affine geometry is the study of parallel lines. Its use of Playf
air's axiom is fundamental since comparative measures of angle size are foreign
to affine geometry so that Euclid's parallel postulate is beyond the scope of pu
re affine geometry. In affine geometry, the relation of parallelism may be adapt
ed so as to be an equivalence relation. Comparisons of figures in affine geometr
y are made with affinities, which are mappings comprising the affine group A. Si
nce A lies between the Euclidean group E and the group of projectivities P, affi
ne geometry is sometimes mentioned[1] in connection with the Erlangen program, w
hich is concerned with group inclusions such as E ? A ? P.
Affine geometry can be developed on the basis of linear algebra. One can define
an affine space as a set of points equipped with a set of transformations, the t
ranslations, which forms (the additive group of) a vector space (over a given fi
eld), and such that for any given ordered pair of points there is a unique trans
lation sending the first point to the second. In more concrete terms, this amoun
ts to having an operation that associates to any two points a vector and another
operation that allows translation of a point by a vector to give another point;
these operations are required to satisfy a number of axioms (notably that two s
uccessive translations have the effect of translation by the sum vector). By cho
osing any point as "origin", the points are in one-to-one correspondence with th
e vectors, but there is no preferred choice for the origin; thus this approach c
an be characterized as obtaining the affine space from its associated vector spa
ce by "forgetting" the origin (zero vector).
Contents
1 History
2 Systems of axioms
2.1 Pappus' law
2.2 Ordered structure
2.3 Ternary rings
3 Affine transformations
4 Affine space
5 Projective view
7 References
History
In 1748, Euler introduced the term affine[2][3] (Latin affinis, "related") in hi
s book Introductio in analysin infinitorum (volume 2, chapter XVIII). In 1827, A
ugust Mbius wrote on affine geometry in his Der barycentrische Calcul (chapter 3)
.
After Felix Klein's Erlangen program, affine geometry was recognized as a genera
lization of Euclidean geometry.[4]
In 1912, Edwin B. Wilson and Gilbert N. Lewis developed an affine geometry [5] [
6] to express the special theory of relativity.
In 1918, Hermann Weyl referred to affine geometry for his text Space, Time, Matt
er. He uses affine geometry to introduce vector addition and subtraction[7] at t

## he earliest stages of his development of mathematical physics. Later, E. T. Whit

taker wrote:[8]
Weyl's geometry is interesting historically as having been the first of the
affine geometries to be worked out in detail: it is based on a special type of p
arallel transport [...using] worldlines of light-signals in four-dimensional spa
ce-time. A short element of one of these world-lines may be called a null-vector
; then the parallel transport in question is such that it carries any null-vecto
r at one point into the position of a null-vector at a neighboring point.
In 1984, "the affine plane associated to the Lorentzian vector space L2 " was de
scribed by Graciela Birman and Katsumi Nomizu in an article entitled "Trigonomet
ry in Lorentzian geometry".[9]
Systems of axioms
Several axiomatic approaches to affine geometry have been put forward:
Pappus' law
Pappus law: if the red lines are parallel and the blue lines are parallel, then
the dotted black lines must be parallel.
As affine geometry deals with parallel lines, one of the properties of parallels
noted by Pappus of Alexandria has been taken as a premise:[10][11]
If A, B, C are on one line and A', B', C' on another, then
(AB' \parallel A'B \ \and \ BC' \parallel B'C) \Rightarrow CA' \parallel C'A
.
The full axiom system proposed has point, line, and line containing point as pri
mitive notions:
Two points are contained in just one line.
For any line l and any point P, not on l, there is just one line containing
P and not containing any point of l. This line is said to be parallel to l.
Every line contains at least two points.
There are at least three points not belonging to one line.
According to H. S. M. Coxeter:
The interest of these five axioms is enhanced by the fact that they can be d
eveloped into a vast body of propositions, holding not only in Euclidean geometr
y but also in Minkowski s geometry of time and space (in the simple case of 1 + 1
dimensions, whereas the special theory of relativity needs 1 + 3). The extension
to either Euclidean or Minkowskian geometry is achieved by adding various furth
er axioms of orthogonality, etc[12]
The various types of affine geometry correspond to what interpretation is taken
for rotation. Euclidean geometry corresponds to the ordinary idea of rotation, w
hile Minkowski s geometry corresponds to hyperbolic rotation. With respect to perp
endicular lines, they remain perpendicular when the plane is subjected to ordina
ry rotation. In the Minkowski geometry, lines that are hyperbolic-orthogonal rem
ain in that relation when the plane is subjected to hyperbolic rotation.
Ordered structure
An axiomatic treatment of plane affine geometry can be built from the axioms of
(Affine axiom of parallelism) Given a point A and a line r, not through A, t
here is at most one line through A which does not meet r.
(Desargues) Given seven distinct points A, A', B, B', C, C', O, such that AA

', BB', and CC' are distinct lines through O and AB is parallel to A'B' and BC i
s parallel to B'C', then AC is parallel to A'C'.
The affine concept of parallelism forms an equivalence relation on lines. Since
the axioms of ordered geometry as presented here include properties that imply t
he structure of the real numbers, those properties carry over here so that this
is an axiomatization of affine geometry over the field of real numbers.
Ternary rings
Main article: planar ternary ring
The first non-Desarguesian plane was noted by David Hilbert in his Foundations o
f Geometry.[14] The Moulton plane is a standard illustration. In order to provid
e a context for such geometry as well as those where Desargues theorem is valid,
the concept of a ternary ring has been developed.
Rudimentary affine planes are constructed from ordered pairs taken from a ternar
y ring. A plane is said to have the "minor affine Desargues property" when two t
riangles in parallel perspective, having two parallel sides, must also have the
third sides parallel. If this property holds in the rudimentary affine plane def
ined by a ternary ring, then there is an equivalence relation between "vectors"
defined by pairs of points from the plane.[15] Furthermore, the vectors form an
abelian group under addition, the ternary ring is linear, and satisfies right di
stributivity:
(a + b) c = ac + bc.
Affine transformations
Main article: Affine transformation
Geometrically, affine transformations (affinities) preserve collinearity: so the
y transform parallel lines into parallel lines and preserve ratios of distances
along parallel lines.
We identify as affine theorems any geometric result that is invariant under the
affine group (in Felix Klein's Erlangen programme this is its underlying group o
f symmetry transformations for affine geometry). Consider in a vector space V, t
he general linear group GL(V). It is not the whole affine group because we must
allow also translations by vectors v in V. (Such a translation maps any w in V t
o w + v.) The affine group is generated by the general linear group and the tran
slations and is in fact their semidirect product V \rtimes \mathrm{GL}(V). (Here
we think of V as a group under its operation of addition, and use the defining
representation of GL(V) on V to define the semidirect product.)
For example, the theorem from the plane geometry of triangles about the concurre
nce of the lines joining each vertex to the midpoint of the opposite side (at th
e centroid or barycenter) depends on the notions of mid-point and centroid as af
fine invariants. Other examples include the theorems of Ceva and Menelaus.
Affine invariants can also assist calculations. For example, the lines that divi
de the area of a triangle into two equal halves form an envelope inside the tria
ngle. The ratio of the area of the envelope to the area of the triangle is affin
e invariant, and so only needs to be calculated from a simple case such as a uni
t isosceles right angled triangle to give \tfrac{3}{4} \log_e(2) - \tfrac{1}{2},
i.e. 0.019860... or less than 2%, for all triangles.
Familiar formulas such as half the base times the height for the area of a trian
gle, or a third the base times the height for the volume of a pyramid, are likew
ise affine invariants. While the latter is less obvious than the former for the
general case, it is easily seen for the one-sixth of the unit cube formed by a f
ace (area 1) and the midpoint of the cube (height 1/2). Hence it holds for all p

yramids, even slanting ones whose apex is not directly above the center of the b
ase, and those with base a parallelogram instead of a square. The formula furthe
r generalizes to pyramids whose base can be dissected into parallelograms, inclu
ding cones by allowing infinitely many parallelograms (with due attention to con
vergence). The same approach shows that a four-dimensional pyramid has 4D volume
one quarter the 3D volume of its parallelepiped base times the height, and so o
n for higher dimensions.
Affine space
Main article: Affine space
Affine geometry can be viewed as the geometry of an affine space of a given dime
nsion n, coordinatized over a field K. There is also (in two dimensions) a combi
natorial generalization of coordinatized affine space, as developed in synthetic
finite geometry. In projective geometry, affine space means the complement of a
hyperplane at infinity in a projective space. Affine space can also be viewed a
s a vector space whose operations are limited to those linear combinations whose
coefficients sum to one, for example 2x - y, x - y + z, (x + y + z)/3, ix + (1
- i)y, etc.
Synthetically, affine planes are 2-dimensional affine geometries defined in term
s of the relations between points and lines (or sometimes, in higher dimensions,
hyperplanes). Defining affine (and projective) geometries as configurations of
points and lines (or hyperplanes) instead of using coordinates, one gets example
s with no coordinate fields. A major property is that all such examples have dim
ension 2. Finite examples in dimension 2 (finite affine planes) have been valuab
le in the study of configurations in infinite affine spaces, in group theory, an
d in combinatorics.
Despite being less general than the configurational approach, the other approach
es discussed have been very successful in illuminating the parts of geometry tha
t are related to symmetry.
Projective view
In traditional geometry, affine geometry is considered to be a study between Euc
lidean geometry and projective geometry. On the one hand, affine geometry is Euc
lidean geometry with congruence left out; on the other hand, affine geometry may
be obtained from projective geometry by the designation of a particular line or
plane to represent the points at infinity.[16] In affine geometry, there is no
metric structure but the parallel postulate does hold. Affine geometry provides
the basis for Euclidean structure when perpendicular lines are defined, or the b
asis for Minkowski geometry through the notion of hyperbolic orthogonality.[17]
In this viewpoint, an affine transformation geometry is a group of projective tr
ansformations that do not permute finite points with points at infinity.
Non-Euclidean geometry
References
^ Springer, C. E. (1964). Geometry and Analysis of Projective Spaces, W. H.
Freeman and Company, pp. 96, 247.
^ Miller, Jeff. "Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics (A)
".
^ Blaschke, Wilhelm (1954). Analytische Geometrie. Basel: Birkhauser. p. 31.
^ Coxeter, H. S. M. (1969). Introduction to Geometry. New York: John Wiley &
Sons. p. 191. ISBN 0-471-50458-0.
^ Edwin B. Wilson & Gilbert N. Lewis (1912). "The Space-time Manifold of Rel
ativity. The Non-Euclidean Geometry of Mechanics and Electromagnetics", Proceedi
ngs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 48:387 507
^ Synthetic Spacetime, a digest of the axioms used, and theorems proved, by

## Wilson and Lewis. Archived by WebCite

^ Hermann Weyl (1918)Raum, Zeit, Materie. 5 edns. to 1922 ed. with notes by
Jurgen Ehlers, 1980. trans. 4th edn. Henry Brose, 1922 Space Time Matter, Methue
n, rept. 1952 Dover. ISBN 0-486-60267-2 . See Chapter 1 2 Foundations of Affine G
eometry, pp 16 27
^ E. T. Whittaker (1958). From Euclid to Eddington: a study of conceptions o
f the external world, Dover Publications, p. 130.
^ Graciela S. Birman & Katsumi Nomizu (1984). "Trigonometry in Lorentzian ge
ometry", American Mathematical Monthly 91(9):543 9, Lorentzian affine plane: p. 54
4
^ Veblen 1918: p. 103 (figure), and p. 118 (exercise 3).
^ Coxeter 1955, The Affine Plane, 2: Affine geometry as an independent syste
m
^ Coxeter 1955, Affine plane, p. 8
^ Coxeter, Introduction to Geometry, p. 192
^ David Hilbert, 1980 (1899). The Foundations of Geometry, 2nd ed., Chicago:
Open Court, weblink from Project Gutenberg, p. 74.
^ Rafael Artzy (1965). Linear Geometry, Addison-Wesley, p. 213.
^ H. S. M. Coxeter (1942). Non-Euclidean Geometry, University of Toronto Pre
ss, pp. 18, 19.
^ Coxeter 1942, p. 178
Emil Artin (1957) Geometric Algebra, chapter 2: "Affine and projective geome
try", Interscience Publishers.
V.G. Ashkinuse & Isaak Yaglom (1962) Ideas and Methods of Affine and Project
ive Geometry (in Russian), Ministry of Education, Moscow.
M. K. Bennett (1995) Affine and Projective Geometry, John Wiley & Sons ISBN
0-471-11315-8 .
H. S. M. Coxeter (1955) "The Affine Plane", Scripta Mathematica 21:5 14, a lec
ture delivered before the Forum of the Society of Friends of Scripta Mathematica
on Monday, April 26, 1954.
Felix Klein (1939) Elementary Mathematics from an Advanced Standpoint: Geome
try, translated by E. R. Hedrick and C. A. Noble, pp 70 86, Macmillan Company.
Bruce E. Meserve (1955) Fundamental Concepts of Geometry, Chapter 5 Affine G
Peter Scherk & Rolf Lingenberg (1975) Rudiments of Plane Affine Geometry, Ma
thematical Expositions #20, University of Toronto Press.
Wanda Szmielew (1984) From Affine to Euclidean Geometry: an axiomatic approa
ch, D. Reidel, ISBN 90-277-1243-3 .
Oswald Veblen (1918) Projective Geometry, volume 2, chapter 3: Affine group
in the plane, pp 70 to 118, Ginn & Company.
Peter Cameron's Projective and Affine Geometries from University of London.
Jean H. Gallier (2001). Geometric Methods and Applications for Computer Scie
nce and Engineering, Chapter 2: "Basics of Affine Geometry" (PDF), Springer Text
s in Applied Mathematics #38, chapter online from University of Pennsylvania.
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Affine geometry
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