Intriguing Geometric Dissections

Any two polygons with equal area can be dissected into a finite number of pieces to form each other. One of the most interesting dissection or geometric equidecomposition puzzles is that discovered by Harry Lindgren in 1951 (see Fig. 2 further below). As you know, in this kind of puzzles, the geometric invariant is the area, since when a polygon is cut and its pieces are distributed differently, the overall area doesn’t change.

Lindgren was the first to discover how to cut a dodecagon into a minimal number of pieces that could pave a square, when rearranged differently. His solution is very elegant, he first built a regular Euclidean pavement by cutting a dodecagon as shown in fig. 1.a, then arranging the four pieces symmetrically on the plane (fig 1.b). The tessellation achieved with these pieces corresponds, by superposition, to a regular paving of squares. The example in fig. 2 shows how the puzzle appears once finished.

dodecagon fig. 1

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Math-Magic Vanishing Space

Inspired from the astrological tables, here is a new puzzle of my creation designed according to the ‘Golden Number Rules’, which is reflected in the proportion of each single piece of the game. Thanks to the balanced dimensions of its pieces, this puzzle acquires some intriguing magical properties!

This “math-magical” puzzle is composed of a tray in which the pieces are assembled.

Quadrix puzzle 2 Continue reading “Math-Magic Vanishing Space”

How to ‘magically’ untie a shoelace double knot

Topology is a fascinating branch of mathematics that describes the properties of an object that remain unchanged under continuous “smooth” deformations. Actually, many 3D puzzles are based on topological principles and understanding some very basic principles may help you analyze whether a puzzle is possible or not.

Puzzle-Meister G. Sarcone created this amusing everyday-life topological puzzle to help children to easily take their shoes off.

image knots

As you know, the standard shoelace knot is designed for quick release and easily comes untied when either of the working ends is pulled. Thus, most people think that tying a shoelace into a double knot is an effective method of making the knot “permanent”. But is it true? Continue reading “How to ‘magically’ untie a shoelace double knot”

Rowboat Dilemma

A rowboat is floating in a harbor, and a stubborn donkey pulls by mean of a long rope through a pulley the boat toward the shore. When the donkey has moved 1 meter, how far has the boat moved:
a) exactly 1 meter,
b) more than 1 meter,
c) less than 1 meter?

image


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