Venn Meets Boole in Symmetric Proof

January 13, 2004

Venn diagrams, long a staple of high school algebra, have also become a staple---or at least a paperclip -- for combinatorial geometers. The simplicity of the familiar two- and three-circle Venn diagrams turns out to be deceptive. Once a fourth set is added, circles no longer suffice and the subject raises a raft of challenging problems. One of them - the existence or non-existence of rotationally symmetric Venn diagrams -- was solved only recently.

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