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Roads and Wheels

Leon Hall
Stan Wagon
Organization: Macalester College
Department: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
URL: http://www.stanwagon.com/
Journal / Anthology

Mathematics Magazine
Year: 1992
Volume: 65
Issue: 5
Page range: 283-301

San Francisco's Exploratorium contains an intriguing exhibit of a square wheel that rolls smoothly on a road made up of linked, inverted catenaries. That exhibit inspired us to generate a computer animation of a rolling square and to a further exploration of the relationship between the shapes of wheels and roads on which they roll. In a sense, we are bringing up to date the paper by G. Robison, showing how much more can be done, both numerically and graphically, with modern computer hardware and software.

*Mathematics > Geometry
*Mathematics > Recreational Mathematics