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Four colors suffice : how the map problem was solved

Author: Robin J Wilson
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2002.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"On October 23, 1852, Professor Augustus De Morgan wrote a letter to a colleague, unaware that he was launching one of the most famous mathematical conundrums in history - one that would confound thousands of puzzlers for more than a century. This is the amazing story of how the "map problem" was solved." "The problem posed in the letter came from a former student: What is the least possible number of colors needed  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
[literature]
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Robin J Wilson
ISBN: 0691115338 9780691115337 0691120234 9780691120232
OCLC Number: 51730619
Notes: Originally published 2002 by Penguin Group, London.
Description: xii, 262 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 21 cm.
Contents: The four-colour problem --
The problem is posed --
Euler's famous formula --
Cayley revives the problem ... --
... And Kempe solves it --
A chapter of accidents --
A bombshell from Durham --
Crossing the Atlantic --
A new dawn breaks --
Success! --
... but is it a proof?
Other Titles: Four colours suffice
Responsibility: Robin Wilson.
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Abstract:

On October 23, 1852, Professor Augustus De Morgan wrote a letter to a colleague, unaware that he was launching one of the most famous mathematical conundrums in history - one that would confound  Read more...

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"Wilson's lucid history weaves together lively anecdotes, biographical sketches, and a non-technical account of the mathematics."--Science "An attractive and well-written account of the solution of Read more...

 
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schema:reviewBody""On October 23, 1852, Professor Augustus De Morgan wrote a letter to a colleague, unaware that he was launching one of the most famous mathematical conundrums in history - one that would confound thousands of puzzlers for more than a century. This is the amazing story of how the "map problem" was solved." "The problem posed in the letter came from a former student: What is the least possible number of colors needed to fill in any map (real or invented) so that neighboring countries are always colored differently? This deceptively simple question was of minimal interest to cartographers, who saw little need to limit how many colors they used. But the problems set off a frenzy among professional mathematicians and amateur problem-solvers, among them Lewis Carroll, an astronomer, a botanist, an obsessive golfer, the Bishop of London, a man who set his watch only once a year, a California traffic cop, and a bridegroom who spent his honeymoon coloring maps. In their pursuit of the solution, mathematicians painted maps on doughnuts and horseshoes and played with patterned soccer balls and the great rhombicubotedron." "It would be more than one hundred years (and countless colored maps) later before the result was finally established. Even then, difficult questions remained, and the intricate solution - which involved no fewer than 1,200 hours of computer time - was greeted with as much dismay as enthusiasm." "Providing a clear and elegant explanation of the problem and the proof, Robin Wilson tells how a seemingly innocuous question baffled great minds and stimulated exciting mathematics with far-flung applications. This is the entertaining story of those who failed to prove, and those who ultimately did prove, that four colors do indeed suffice to color any map."--BOOK JACKET."
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