Abstract / Synopsis
This article is a gentle introduction to the mathematical area known as circle packing, the study of the kinds of patterns that can be formed by configurations of non- overlapping circles. The first half of the article is an exposition of the two most important facts about circle packings, (1) that essentially whatever pattern we ask for, we may always arrange circles in that pattern, and (2) that under simple conditions on the pattern, there is an essentially unique arrangement of circles in that pattern. In the second half of the article, we consider related questions, but where we allow the circles to overlap. The article is written with the idea that no mathematical background should be required to read it.
Andrey M. Mishchenko, "Patterns Formed by Coins," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 6 Issue 2 (July 2016), pages 96-113. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.201602.08. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol6/iss2/8
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