Common Transversals and Tangents to Two Lines and Two Quadrics in ℙ3

Gábor Megyesi, Frank Sottile, Thorsten Theobald

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We solve the following geometric problem, which arises in several three-dimensional applications in computational geometry: For which arrangements of two lines and two spheres in ℝ3 are there infinitely many lines simultaneously transversal to the two lines and tangent to the two spheres? We also treat a generalization of this problem to projective quadrics. Replacing the spheres in R3 by quadrics in projective space ℙ3, and fixing the lines and one general quadric, we give the following complete geometric description of the set of (second) quadrics for which the two lines and two quadrics have infinitely many transversals and tangents: in the nine-dimensional projective space ℙ 9 of quadrics, this is a curve of degree 24 consisting of 12 plane conics, a remarkably reducible variety.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)543-571
    Number of pages28
    JournalDiscrete & Computational Geometry
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


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