Ever try to move a sofa down a hallway that has a corner? The underlying math behind it inspired a math problem that's been a puzzler since 1966. Gerver's Sofa above shows the parameters: a U-shaped sofa moving around a 90-degree corner in an even-width hallway. Gerver's got the record so far, and it is likely the optimal sofa.

This question was first published by Leo Moser in 1966. The animation above, made by Claudio Rocchini, shows one attempt to solve this problem. It’s called the Hammersley sofa, since it was discovered by John Michael Hammersley in 1968... But it’s not the best known solution! In 1992, Joseph Gerver found a shape of area [...] that fits around the bend in the hallway. Basically Gerver rounded off some of the corners of Hammersley’s sofa. The resulting shape has a boundary consisting of 3 straight line segments and 15 curved segments.

AMS has a good detailed illustration of the Gerver Sofa, too.

A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]

One of the most interesting series ever is Closer To Truth, which “presents the world’s greatest thinkers exploring humanity’s deepest questions.” For instance: is mathematics invented or discovered?

High school teacher Joe Howard (the guy who made the “How loud would it be if all of the cats in the world meowed at the same time?” video I posted a couple of weeks ago, is back. This time, he shows how to come up with a formula to determine how long would it […]

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]

Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]

The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]

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