Math E-320:
Teaching Math with a Historical Perspective
Mathematics E-320:
Instructor: Oliver Knill
Office: SciCtr 434


Here is the proof of Minkowski's theorem:
1) We can translate any part of the region into the central 2x2 square translating by an even integer distance horizontally and shifting by an even number vertically.
2) Because of the area condition, there will be overlap. This means that two points A - (2a,2b) = B - (2c,2d) where a,b,c,d are integers.
3) Combining 1) and 2) means that A-B = (2n,2m), where n,m are integers.
3) Symmetry and the fact that B is in the region implies that also (-B) is in the region. 4) Convexity implies that (A + (-B))/2 is in the region. But this is (n,m), a lattice point.
The following pictures illustrate the part of the proof which translates everything into the middle 2x2 square. We rotate the region and at each time have shifted all the parts outside the middle 2x2 square into the 2x2 middle square:





Please send questions and comments to knill@math.harvard.edu
Math E320| Oliver Knill | Spring 2010 | Extension School | Harvard University