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Mathematicians invent 'impossible' tile shape that never repeats and name it after Einstein

Mathematicians invent 'impossible' tile shape that never repeats and name it after Einstein

A new shape has been discovered and they've named it after Albert Einstein

An entirely new shape has been invented and it's all thanks to a guy who says he's 'not really into math'.

Discovering a new shape is a bit like inventing a new number or adding an extra letter onto the alphabet, you wouldn't have thought it possible because we've pretty much already got all of the ones we need.

However, there's been a geometry problem which mathematicians have been struggling with for decades and were unable to find an answer.

They wanted to know if a shape existed which would be able to fit together like tiles but not result in a pattern simply repeating itself.

The closest we'd got to an answer before was the 1970s when a Nobel prize winning physicist found pairs of shapes which would do the trick, but finding one singular shape that could do this continued to elude us.

Behold 'The Hat', the newest shape which has solved a problem once thought impossible.
David Smith, Joseph Samuel Myers, Craig S. Kaplan, and Chaim Goodman-Strauss

That all changed thanks to the efforts of one David Smith from the UK, who despite his professed lack of interest in math was very interested in figuring out this long problem.

A retired printing technician from Yorkshire, Smith told CNN he was 'always looking for an interesting shape' and finally discovered one which appeared to solve the problem back in November.

He got in contact with a math professor, Dr Craig Kaplan of the University of Waterloo in Ontario and along with fellow academics Dr Chaim Goodman-Strauss of the University of Arkansas and Dr Joseph Myers of Cambridge they published a scientific paper about this newest of shapes.

'The Hat' in deliciously edible biscuit form.

In some circles it's been dubbed 'The Hat' because if you look at it a certain way it sort of looks like one, but the shape itself is also named after Albert Einstein, albeit coincidentally.

This is because it's something known as an 'aperiodic shape', which is also known as an 'Einstein shape' as roughly translated into German it means 'one stone', and the fact that it shares a name with one of the brightest minds in human history is simply a very pleasant surprise.

That's not all, as Smith reckons he's already come up with a successor to 'The Hat' in the form of 'The Turtle' and said that seeking out new shapes was 'a bit of an addiction'.

Sometimes it takes a new approach to solve old problems once thought impossible, and sometimes it takes the determination and persistence of someone like Smith to figure out the answer.

Featured Image Credit: David Smith/Joseph Samuel Myers/Craig S. Kaplan/Chaim Goodman-Strauss/IanDagnall Computing / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Weird, Science, UK News