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Puzzling Lines

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Visit this site: http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathtrek_6_12_00.html

Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: Sol LeWitt has often featured geometric and combinatorial themes in his sculptures, paintings, and drawings. In 1973 he composed "Straight Lines in Four Directions and All Their Possible Combinations," a grid of 15 squares, each inscribed with one or more horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines in different orientations. When mathematician Barry Cipra saw this set of drawings, he asked himself if it would be possible to rearrange 16 squares (one of them blank), without rotating any of the squares, so that no horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines remain unbroken within a 4x4 grid. That was the birth of a challenging mathematical puzzle that not only is solvable but has three geometrically distinct solutions.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Problems/Puzzles, Articles
Math Topics: Combinatorics, Euclidean Plane Geometry, Art

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