1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data Three electrons are confined to move on a ring of radius R. Find the equilibrium positions of the electrons in terms of the angles between them. 2. Relevant equations Some hints with differentials are given to us, as is the potential between two of the electrons , but as far as I can tell these are completely redundant. 3. The attempt at a solution Well my problem is this: we've been given this question in a second year comp lab and the answer is so glaringly obvious to me that I can only come to the conclusion that I'm misunderstanding something. I don't get how one could possibly need a computer to get this. As I see it, the three electrons being identical particles implies that the final state must be symmetric under interchanging the particles. And on a ring the only way to do this is to have them all separated by 120 degrees. Surely it can't be that simple? What am I missing?