Mathematics Proves Four Colours Enough to Color an Entire Map

Map Colors

What is your idea of drawing maps? Well, let’s imagine you are already done with designing a map and all you are left with is filling colours into it. Now, what you need to focus on, is the minimum number of shades using which you can colour your map. This ensures no two bordering countries share the same color. Did you find an answer? Is it five or six? Actually, the right answer is four.

Yes, you can fill a map completely using only four colours. There was a time when this had been one of the biggest questions in the mind of experts. It remained unknown for over hundreds of years and guess what? The answer was produced and proven by
mathematics and a computer. It was only in 1976, when two sharp mathematicians from the Universirty of Illionis came up with a proof of the popular “Four Color Theorem”. Here is some more information about it for you.

What is the Four Colour Theorem?

The four colour theorem says that it is possible to colour a map with four different shades in such a way that no two common boundary regions share the same colour. Before moving directly to proof of the theorem, let us talk about something equally
important and relevant. What do you do for the most difficult math problem? Of course, you try solving its simpler version first, right? Similarly, in case of finding an answer for the number of colours required to fill the whole map, there must be a region with five borders at the maximum.

If the above fact is true, you do not require more than five colours for map colouring. However, proving this for four colours was a bit challenging and it was finally proved using thousands of smaller maps. It also involved the proof which showed that each map used four colours at minimum. The two talented mathematicians made sure that every map consisted of at least one such smaller map.

This is how we got the four colour theorem proven, but as it is said, success demands hard work and dedication. The experts found it difficult without a computer to ensure that each map was filled with just four colours. This approach was questionable as at that time, a computer was never brought into use for solving a maths problem.

The present day

These days, use of computers have become very common and they serve as a helping hand in math proofs. However, this was first initiated by the four colour problem. It is this single proof that mathematicians brought a completely new technique of solving
complicated problems. This changed our perception towards science, maths and the whole world.


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