# 17 Squares In A Larger Square

##### Part of a series on Mathematics.[View Related Entries]

Updated Feb 21, 2023 at 01:03PM EST by Zach.

Added Feb 19, 2023 at 10:12AM EST by

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17 Squares In A Larger Square, also known as Optimimal Packing Of 17 Equal Squares Into Larger Square, refers to discussions and math jokes made in reference to an image that shows the most efficient and compact way to fit 17 squares in a larger square. In late 2021, internet users first began to discuss the math problem due to its solution being arguably aesthetically unappealing. Memes about the math problem then started to circulate on Twitter in February 2023.

## Origin

On December 10th, 2021, Twitter[1] user @KangarooPhysics posted a series of tweets about "The best known packings of N equal circles into a square and a circle." The initial tweet in the thread gathered over 1,000 likes in roughly a year (seen below, left). The sixth tweet[2] in the thread was also posted on December 10th and read, "Seeing that this is the best way we know to fit this many equal squares inside a square makes me feel a bit better about struggling to fit the plates in the dishwasher!" and gathered over 2,700 likes in a similar timeframe (seen below, right).

On December 11th, 2021, Twitter[3] user @eigenrobot quote tweeted the aforementioned tweet saying, "vaguely offensive act by God if this holds up," and gathering over 700 likes in over a year (seen below, left). On December 12th, Twitter[4] user @arborelia posted a tweet that read, "you can feel the results of this problem in your soul. You look at the optimal packing of 28 squares in a square and say, oh that's nice, what an ingenious and satisfying solution / and then you see 17 squares and you're like, how could a caring god do this to their universe." The tweet gathered over 2,800 likes in over a year (seen below, right).

On February 14th, 2023, Twitter[5] user @KangarooPhysics reposted the subject matter in their original tweet with a higher resolution, saying "The optimal known packing of 17 equal squares into a larger square – i.e. the arrangement which minimises the size of the large square." The tweet gathered over 35,000 likes in nearly a week (seen below, left). The thread by user[6] @KangarooPhysics also contained a tweet that read, "Also – it's not that there aren't any symmetric arrangements possible for 17. It's just that they're not as compact as the one on the right." The tweet gathered over 400 likes in five days (seen below, left).

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###### LastAngryWrestleman

I think we bought too much into the Math class idea that all math is beautiful.

Wouldn't be the first time either given the Pythagoreans drowned a guy for pointing out that 2 doesn't have a nice clean square root.

+41
###### Charmielius

Come now the solution is simple: just place the squares within the allowed area and fill the remaining area with packing foam, that way you fill the container completely and if there's any bumps during transit the squares within will face virtually no damage.

We are trying to optimize storage space right? This isn't just a pointless exercise with no real world application right?

+36