Step the Square



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The solution to this puzzle is shown in the illustration.

The solution is based on a dissection that uses the step technique, so named because of the resemblance to stair steps. Girolamo Cardano, an Italian physician and mathematician, described this dissection in 1663 in his De Rerum Varietate.

Greg N. Frederickson in his Dissections: Plane & Fancy writes: "...In its simplest form, the step technique cuts a rectangle in a zigzag pattern, alternating horizontal cuts of one length with vertical cuts of another. By shifting the two resulting pieces by one step relative to each other, we form a different rectangle..."

More comprehensive research on this and similar dissection puzzles can be found in the Dissections: Plane & Fancy book by Greg Frederickson.

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
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