Plane & Fancy

Greg N. Frederickson

Can you cut an octagon into five pieces and rearrange them into a square? How about turning a star into a pentagon? These are just two of the many challenges of geometric dissections, the mathematical art of cutting figures into pieces that can be rearranged to form other figures, using as few pieces as possible. This book shows you many ingenious ways to solve these problems and the beautiful constructions you can create.

Through the ages, geometric dissections have fascinated puzzle fans and great mathematicians alike. Here you will find dissections known to Plato alongside exciting new discoveries. The author poses puzzles for you to solve, but this is much more than a puzzle book. He explains solution methods carefully: new and old types of slides, strips, steps, tessellations, and exploration of star and polygon structures. You need only a basic knowledge of high school geometry.

You will also be introduced to the people - famous, not-so-famous, and obscure - who have worked on these problems. Travel from the palace school of tenth-century Baghdad to the mathematical puzzle columns in turn-of-the-century newspapers, from the 1900 Paris Congress of Mathematicians to the night sky over Canberra.

This beautifully illustrated book will provide many hours of enjoyment for any mathematical puzzle enthusiast.


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