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a concept in geometry. Geometric figures are said to be similar if they are identical in shape, regardless of whether they are identical in size. The figures F1 and F2 are similar if between their points a one-to-one correspondence can be established such that the ratio of the distances between any two pairs of corresponding points of F1 and F2 a constant k. This constant is called the similarity factor. The angles between corresponding lines of similar figures are equal. Thus, in Figure 1 ∠B1A11C1 = ∠B2A2C2 = ϕ. The ratio of the areas of bounded similar figures is equal to the square of the similarity factor, and the ratio of the volumes of similar solids is equal to the cube of the similarity factor.

Figure 1

A geometric transformation of the plane (or of space) such that all figures in the plane are transformed into similar figures with the same ratio of similitude is called a similarity transformation, which is a special case of an affine transformation. The set of all similarity transformations of the plane or of space forms a group. Any similarity transformation can be represented as the successive application of a homothetic transformation and a proper or improper motion.

The concept of similarity and similarity transformations are used in such engineering applications of geometry as modeling and drawing. For example, the operation of the pantograph is based on the concept of similarity.

References in periodicals archive ?
The cases that do not appear in the list are either cannot occur or lead to similar triangles.
Wikipedia's entry about the history of trigonometry is there for all to read (on the website, several reliable sources are referenced at the bottom): "Pre-Hellenic societies such as the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians lacked the concept of an angle measure, but they studied the ratios of the sides of similar triangles and discovered some properties of these ratios.