Geometric Constructions for Symmetric 3-Configurations

  • Leah Wrenn Berman
Keywords: configurations, discrete geometry, incidence geometry


A geometric 3-configuration is a collection of points and straight lines, typically in the Euclidean plane, in which every point has 3 lines passing through it and every line has 3 points lying on it, and we say that such configuration is symmetric if there are non-trivial isometries of the plane that map the configuration to itself. Many symmetric 3-configurations may be easily constructed with computer algebra systems using algebraic techniques: e.g., constructing a number of symmetry classes of points and lines, by various means, and then determining the position of a final class of points or lines by solving some polynomial equation. In contrast, this paper presents a number of ruler-and-compass-type constructions for exactly constructing various types of symmetric 3-configurations, as long as the vertices of an initial regular m-gon are explicitly provided. In addition, it provides methods for constructing chirally symmetric 3-configurations given an underlying unlabelled reduced Levi graph, for extending these constructions to produce dihedrally symmetric 3-configurations, and for constructing 3-configurations corresponding to all 3-orbit and 4-orbit reduced Levi graphs that contain a pair of parallel arcs. Notably, most of the configurations described are movable: that is, they have at least one continuous parameter.
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