June 1, 2018

A day late, but here's our comic for May! We're on a one-comic-per-month restricted schedule for the time being, but not for lack of work; we've made 4 comics this month, but we can't share them with you just yet (soon!).

If you're able to access Martin Gardner's 1975 Scientific American column, it contains a most glorious advertisement for calculators which we highly recommend.

And if anyone has an update on Richard James III or on Rolf Stein, we'd love to hear from you!

Most of what the characters say is in their own words. Here are the works we cited in order of appearance in the comic. Vielen dank to Julian Rennert for his kind help with German translation!

  • Karl Reinhardt, Uber die Zerlegung der Ebene in Polygone, PhD Dissertation, Universität Frankfurt, 1918.
  • Richard B. Kershner, "On Paving the Plane", American Mathematical Monthly, 75 (1968), 839-844.
  • Richard James III as quoted in D. Schattschneider, "In praise of amateurs", in The Mathematical Gardner, D. Klarner (ed.) (Boston, 1981) 143.
  • Marjorie Rice, "Escher-Like Patterns from Pentagonal Tilings" in Emmer & Schattschneider (eds.) M.C. Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration, (Leipzig, 2003), 244.
  • Casey Mann as quoted in D. Freeman, "Historic 'Tile' Discovery Gives Math World A Big Jolt", (2015).
  • Jennifer McLoud-Mann as quoted in E. Peralta, "With Discovery, 3 Scientists Chip Away At An Unsolvable Math Problem" (2015).

For more information about about the history of pentagonal tilings, have a look at the following resources:

  • Martin Gardner's 1975 Scientific American article: Martin Gardner, "Mathematical Games" in Scientific American, Vol. 233, No. 1 (July 1975), 112-119.
  • Gardner's update to Scientific American with James's discovery: Martin Gardner, "Mathematical Games" in Scientific American, Vol. 233, No. 1 (July 1975), 112-119.
  • For more about Marjorie Rice: Natalie Wolchover, "Marjorie Rice’s Secret Pentagons" in Quanta Magazine, July 2017.
  • For a description of the problem, current to 1978: Doris Schattschneider, "Tiling the Plane with Congruent Pentagons" in Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), 29-44.
  • For an overview of the problem, including Rao's contributions: Natalie Wolchover, "Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem" in Quanta Magazine, July 2017.
  • Mann, McLoud-Mann, and Von Derau's paper: Mann, C., McLoud-Mann, J. & Von Derau, Convex pentagons that admit i-block transitive tilings D. Geom Dedicata (2018) 194: 141.
  • Rao's manuscript: Michael Rao, Exhaustive search of convex pentagons which tile the plane, arXiv:1708.00274 [math.CO]