By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

Math_Monday_banner02_600px.jpg

If you make a coffee table that express a mathematical idea and place it right in the middle of your living room, that certainly makes a statement to all who visit that math is central in your life.

coffee table 4 Math Monday: Mathematical Coffee Table

This looks like an ordinary square coffee table, but note the cuts and the three hinges.

coffee table 3 Math Monday: Mathematical Coffee Table

The table instantly transforms into an equilateral triangle, which is handy if you don’t know how many people are coming over.

coffee table 34 Math Monday: Mathematical Coffee Table

This bottom view shows the structure. The seven legs are positioned to support it in each corner, in both the square and triangle configuration. Greg Fredrickson describes how Jan de Koning constructed it for Joop Van Der Vaart, based on a suggestion of Howard Eves, that derives from the original 1903 dissection of Henry Dudeny.

More:
See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


Related
blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Supplies at Maker Shed

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,457 other followers