Authors: Philip E Gibbs
Lebesgue’s universal covering problem is re-examined using computational methods. This leads to conjectures about the nature of the solution which if correct could provide a blueprint for a complete solution. Empirical lower bounds for the minimal area are computed using different hypotheses based on the conjectures. A new upper bound of 0.844112 for the area of the minimal cover is derived improving previous results. This method for determining the bound is suggested by the conjectures and computational observations but is proved independently of them. The key innovation is to modify previous best results by removing corners from a regular hexagon at a small slant angle to the edges of the dodecahedron used before. Simulations indicate that the minimum area for a convex universal cover is likely to be around 0.84408.
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