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:

whatThis question became known as the

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?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.

But

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

This

sofa would only be effective for right handed turns. One can clearly

see that if we have to turn left somewhere we would be kind of in a tough

spot.Prof.Romik from the University of California, Davis 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 more importantly sofa design.

Have a good one!