Have you ever colored in a pattern and wondered what is the smallest number of different colors needed so that no two sections that share a common edge are the same color? (Having a common corner is OK, just not an edge.)
Well that is what the map maker, Frederic Guthrie did around 1852. Guthrie noticed he only needed 4 colors to color any map and wondered if this was true for all maps.
This video is from “Math Centre.”
It seemed like a simple idea, but sometimes simple ideas can be very hard to prove. The four color conjecture was not proven until 1976, 124 year later.
This was the first time a computer was used to prove a major mathematical theorem.
Although many mistakes were made, while trying to find a solution to this problem, mathematicians learned a lot from their attempts.
This knowledge later helped them prove other ideas.
Teachers: A clothesline activity is located in the teacher section (you need to sign it to access this.)