Irreducible Apollonian Configurations and Packings
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Irreducible Apollonian Configurations and Packings

  • Author(s): Butler, Steve
  • Graham, Ron
  • Guettler, Gerhard
  • Mallows, Colin
  • et al.
Abstract

An Apollonian configuration of circles is a collection of circles in the plane with disjoint interiors such that the complement of the interiors of the circles consists of curvilinear triangles. One well-studied method of forming an Apollonian configuration is to start with three mutually tangent circles and fill a curvilinear triangle with a new circle, then repeat with each newly created curvilinear triangle. More generally, we can start with three mutually tangent circles and a rule (or rules) for how to fill a curvilinear triangle with circles. In this paper we consider the basic building blocks of these rules, irreducible Apollonian configurations. Our main result is to show how to find a small field that can realize such a configuration and also give a method to relate the bends of the new circles to the bends of the circles forming the curvilinear triangle.

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