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The dissection of equilateral triangles into equilateral triangles

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

W. T. Tutte
Affiliation:
Trinity CollegeCambridge

Extract

In a previous joint paper (‘The dissection of rectangles into squares’, by R. L. Brooks, C. A. B. Smith, A. H. Stone and W. T. Tutte, Duke Math. J. 7 (1940), 312–40), hereafter referred to as (A) for brevity, it was shown that it is possible to dissect a square into smaller unequal squares in an infinite number of ways. The basis of the theory was the association with any rectangle or square dissected into squares of an electrical network obeying Kirchhoff's laws. The present paper is concerned with the similar problem of dissecting a figure into equilateral triangles. We make use of an analogue of the electrical network in which the ‘currents’ obey laws similar to but not identical with those of Kirchhoff. As a generalization of topological duality in the sphere we find that these networks occur in triplets of ‘trial networks’ N1, N2, N3. We find that it is impossible to dissect a triangle into unequal equilateral triangles but that a dissection is possible into triangles and rhombuses so that no two of these figures have equal sides. Most of the theorems of paper (A) are special cases of those proved below.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge Philosophical Society 1948

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