*“The Intuitive Table ‘Theorem’ “*, was published in the math journal

*Viniculum.*

The theorem ran thus:

*“By rotating a square table over uneven ground, you can ensure that all four legs touch the ground”*. Suggesting that, theoretically at least, any wobbling can be eliminated by studious rotation. A few months later, the same authors,

*Burkard Polster, Marty Ross*and

*QED (the cat)*published an update, which

*is*available online, see

*Turning the tables: feasting from a mathsnack.*(

*Viniculum*, Volume 42, number 4. Nov. 2005). The new paper further refined the findings, pointing out, amongst other things, that the theorem does

*not*hold for so-called ‘cliff’ scenarios. In other words where one (or more) of the legs is entirely unsupported – for example when hanging over a cliff or positioned over a deep hole. Thus the theorem was refined to read

*“A mathematical table can always be balanced locally, as long as the ground function g is continuous”*

Then, in 2007 the theorem was consolidated still further – this time in the journal

*The Mathematical Intelligencer*(Volume 29, Number 2 / June, 2007). This new article, entitled

*‘Before carrying out these transformations, make sure the glasses are not filled too full’*drew attention to the fact that if you shorten one of the legs of a real-life four-legged square table, it will consistently wobble if you set it down on a planar surface – no amount of turning or tilting will fix this problem.

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