Area paradox unmasked

In my last post I presented a paradox, where a set of four pieces forming an 8×8 square could apparently be rearranged to form a 5×13 rectangle, summoning an extra unit of area out of thin air.

Quite a few commenters realized that the pieces don’t actually quite fit together in the second figure, leaving a small gap which is covered up by the thick black lines (that, or else the second figure uses slightly differently-shaped pieces!). Here are the figures again, this time without the thick lines:

That thin white area in the middle has an area of—you guessed it—one square unit.

In a subsequent post I’ll explain why this works so well. As noted by JM, it’s not a coincidence that all the dimensions involved are Fibonacci numbers…

About Brent

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hendrix College. Functional programmer, mathematician, teacher, pianist, follower of Jesus.
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One Response to Area paradox unmasked

  1. Pingback: A Fibonacci pattern | The Math Less Traveled

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