Mathematicians fit a square peg in a round hole

Funny story written by IainB

Thursday, 15 August 2013

image for Mathematicians fit a square peg in a round hole
This proof will also allow for square pies in round tins

Mathematicians at Keswick University have produced a proof that shows how to fit a square peg into a round hole.

"Using topological manipulation calculations," said theoretical mathematician, Patience Tested, "we have successfully transmogrified a square peg in such a way that it fits neatly into a round hole."

There are some slight modifications the mathematicians at Keswick had to make to the proverb in order to successfully produce their proof.

"Obviously, the peg wasn't square," said Tested. "It was a cuboid. And the hole wasn't round, it was cylindrical. A square is a two dimensional shape, and holes should be, by their nature, three dimensional, making them cylinders. Actually putting an actual square peg in an actual round hole merely involves rolling the peg into a cylindrical shape and sliding it right on in. Putting a cuboid peg into a cylinder is vastly more complicated and a better use of our time."

The mathematicians have used homomorphism to prove that square pegs are actually cylinders, and in a computer simulation used continuous deformation to twist the square peg into a spiral shape that fits neatly through their round hole.

"It's very elegant," said Patience. "We are hopeful that this particular theoretical proof will have applications in the real world, allowing such things as square screws and more robust tent pegs that continue to fit into the round holes."

Big Bear, manufacturers of children's toys, have already manufactured a range of toys for toddlers with square pegs and round holes for toddlers aged up to five to practice their continuous deformation.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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