New Proof for the Pythagorean Theorem

May 7, 2024 | Hinsdale

Although the Pythagorean Theorem has been around for thousands of years at this point, we are still coming up with different ways to prove that it is true. You may ask, how is there more than one way to prove if this is true or not? Isn't it either true or not. It's similar to how we can say that 5 x 2 = 10. Since multiplication is just repeated addition, we can keep adding 2's five times (2+2+2+2+2 = 10), or we can also add 5s two times (5+5 = 10). So now we've shown that 5 x 2 = 10 two different ways.

Now because the Pythagorean theorem is a little more complicated than multiplication there are even more ways that we can say that its true. In 1940, Elisha Scott Thomas wrote the book, The Pythagorean Proposition, which is 310 pages long and contains 370 different ways to prove the Pythagorean Theorem. These include a wide range of different proofs using different topics of Math such as Algebra, Geometry, and Quaternionics.

While proofs like these are usually done by Math Professors with too much time on their hands, last year, two Louisiana High Schoolers, Ne’Kiya D Jackson and Calcea Johnson, came up with their own proof for the Pythagorean Theorem using Trigonometry and Infinite Series. They presented this proof to the American Mathematical Society in March of last year using what they called "The Waffle Cone" Method. This video goes into more detail about how the proof is actually done.

It's crazy to think that after all these years we are still coming up with new ways to prove something that a Greek Mathematician came up with in 900 BC.