The Four Colour Map Theorem

The Most Epic Book of Maths Ever explains how the four-colour map theorem works.
It gives us a problem that's supposed to be impossible, but nobody is absolutely sure!

Let's see what it's all about:

* A MAP is a diagram divided into areas by lines. It can be any size and have any number of lines.

* The map has to be coloured in so that no two areas that share a border are the same colour.

* The theorem says that the maximum number of different colours you should need is FOUR.

* Could you be the first person in the world to design a map that needs five or more colours?

Of course lots of Murderous maths readers have decided to try and disprove the theorem by sending us their maps which they claim need more than four colours.

One of the first was Edgar Pierre Burkart who sent this cute little map with five colours...

...but it only needed four!

This one with five colours came from Edison Fu in Hong Kong...

...but it only needed four!

Here's a very neat five-colour map from Kiron Dutton...

...but it only needed four!

So if YOU think you've got a map that needs FIVE or more colours, draw out a few black and white versions. Try colouring them in different ways. Better still, ask your friends to have a go. If you're SURE that it's impossible then you can tell us at our MAILROOM.

Good luck!

The Most Epic Book of Maths Ever

Teacher Resource Page

Murderous Maths Home Page