The Size and Shape of Utopia

Andrew Simoson
Proceedings of Bridges 2016: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Education, Culture (2016)
Pages 65–70 Regular Papers


In celebration of the fifth centennial of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia of 1516, we offer a solution to a geographical/mathematical puzzle posed in the text, namely, the possible size and shape of the island. Translating More’s five verbal clues into mathematics yields five equations with five unknowns, and a solution to the puzzle, which we contrast with various maps made by cartographers/artists over the years.