Colorful Mathematics: Part IV
Posted December 2003.
The four-color problem, dating from 1852, was posed in the framework of coloring the regions of a map. One can not seriously claim, however, that applications motivated this problem. Almost from the beginning the four-color problem thrived as a question in theoretical mathematics and the ideas and methods that were marshalled in an attempt to solve the problem showed little explicit concern for applicability.
However, as has usually been the case with mathematics, as the theory of coloring matured, it became clear that there were applicable problems which were illuminated by the research to get insight into coloring problems.
York College (CUNY)
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