Four Colours Suffice: How the Map Problem Was Solved
A puzzlers delight for over a century, the four-colour problem was one of the most famous conundrums in mathematics, if not the most famous, and many ... Show synopsis A puzzlers delight for over a century, the four-colour problem was one of the most famous conundrums in mathematics, if not the most famous, and many thousands of puzzlers - amateur problem-solvers and professional mathematicians alike - have struggled to answer it. The problem is simply stated, and involves the colouring of maps: Can every map be coloured with no more than four colours so that neighbouring countries are coloured differently? First posed in 1852, it took more than 100 years of colouring maps and developing the necessary theoretical machinery before the result was established with certainty. Even then, difficult philosophical questions remained. Robin Wilson clarifies the problem, explains the proof and introduces the mathematicians behind the mathematics, among them a bishop, an astronomer, a botanist, an obsessive golfer and a bridegroom who spent his honeymoon colouring maps.