Non-constructible number

1. Apr 28, 2004

keiop3

why is the sin(2*pi/7) non-constructible?

2. Apr 28, 2004

matt grime

Becuase it doesn't lie in a quadratic extension of a quadratic extension of (etc) R: a number is constructible iff (using straight edge and compass) if it lies in an extension of degree 2^n for some n. The proof is elementary and a good exposition can be found in almost any Galois THeory book. To check this particular example find the minimal polynomial of sin2pi/7, which i imagine is the cycltomic x^5+x^4+x^3+x^2+x+1

3. Sep 16, 2004

mathwonk

constructible means it is obtained by intersecting some lines and circles, hence given by quadratic equations. thus a sequence of extension fields of degree 2. since field extension degree is multiplicative, repeating them gives fields of degree 2^n. so any number satisfying an irreducible equation of degree not a power of 2 is not constructible.