If one remembers this particular episode from the popular sitcom ‘Friends’ where Ross is trying to carry a sofa to his apartment, it seems that moving a sofa up the stairs is ridiculously hard.
But life shouldn’t be that hard now should it?
The mathematician Leo Moser posed in 1966 the following curious mathematical problem: what
is the shape of largest area in the plane that can be moved around a
right-angled corner in a two-dimensional hallway of width 1? This question became known as the moving sofa problem, and is still unsolved fifty years after it was first asked.
The most common shape to move around a tight right angled corner is a square.
And another common shape that would satisfy this criterion is a semi-circle.
what is the largest area that can be moved around?
Well, it has been
conjectured that the shape with the largest area that one can move around a corner is known as “Gerver’s
sofa”. And it looks like so:
Wait.. Hang on a second
sofa would only be effective for right handed turns. One can clearly
see that if we were to turn left somewhere we would in kind of tough
Prof.Romik from the University of California has
proposed this shape popularly know as Romik’s ambidextrous sofa that
solves this problem.
Although Prof.Romik’s sofa may/may not be the not the optimal solution, it is definitely is a breakthrough since this can pave the way for more complex ideas in mathematical analysis and sofa design.