Mathematics: Settling Political Feuds?

politicsBattles over defining congressional districts have raged since 1812,with the original case of “gerrymandering,” to 2003 when Democratic Representatives fled the state of Texas in an attempt to stave off redistricting.  The problem with redistricting exists, as Justice Anthony Kennedy states, “because there are yet no agreed upon substantive principles of fairness in districting, we have no basis on which to define clear, manageable, and politically neutral standards.” 

Dr. Zeph Landau and his colleagues may have provided a solution.  Landau proposes a method that most of us are familiar with from childhood:  a version of the “I cut, you choose” method of dividing a sweet treat.  Under his proposal, a neutral third party would divide the state from left to right until one political party said stop.  The party who wanted to stop would then control the left side of the state and the other political party the right.  From there they could divide their share as they saw fit.

For more information about Dr. Landau’s proposal and its implications, see Science News here.

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