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Lipzgraz & his 18th Century Square

Today few people have heard of the Austrian Physicist, Karl Heinz Lipzgraz, yet it was he who brought the Square to public attention.

A stunning example of a typical Lipzgraz Square. (fig 10)

When looking through some old books the other day, I stumbled across a curio by the 18th Century Austrian Physicist, Karl Heinz Lipzgraz; the Fig 10 illustration, from his little known work, Lipzgraz Quantum Puzzles and Shapes. Vol 1. I must admit, I'd never heard of Lipzgraz or his Square until up until then, so I decided to investigate...

Lipzgraz was infamous for having not one but two papers rejected by the controversial, Austrian Academy of National Academics, (AANA), who's headquarters are in Paris.

Lipzgraz’s theory on Tension Dynamics and Relative Positives was dismissed six times by the Academy, despite the fact that he had only sent it in twice. This paper contains the earliest know illustration of the Lipzgraz Circle, an early predecessor of what would he’d later rework into his iconic Square. Undoubtedly, the mind-boggling complexity of his circle and its lack of straight edges was the principal cause of this paper's rejection. His second paper, Dynamic Negative Tension and its Positive Quantum Opposites, was also deemed a failure by the AANA Head of Physics, Karl Heinze Srtubübercranz. He described the submission as, “Ein crokën auf shïtë." This humiliating rejection inadvertently led to the discovery of Lipzgraz's most famous invention, The Lipzgraz Square. Although it failed to gain academic approval, the Lipzgraz Square was a huge hit with the children who lived near Lipzgraz house. Frankly it's not difficult to see why. Children were told to, “Look at the square! Look at the square! Now look away then quickly look back at the square again...what do you see?" Inevitably children would see a square and clap and scream in delight, “It's a square!" they would cry, much to the relief of the Lipzgraz.

The ‘Das Erstaunliche Quadrat’ - a depiction of Lipzgraz unveiling his 1776 Square.

Lipzgraz presented the 1776 version of his Square to the Habsburg Court in Vienna. He’d worked tirelessly on the top right corner of this particular square for the best part of a decade before deciding it was square enough to unveil. Tragically, his 1776 Square was rejected, leaving him a broken man. Nevertheless, a roughly sketched copied of Lipzgraz’s original 1776 Square was smuggled out of Austria and found it’s way to England. Sadly, Lipzgraz could never have known his Square would become hugely popular in Victorian London with children of the aristocracy. "What do you see? It's a Square!" they would scream in the elegant drawing rooms of Chelsea and Kensington.

'Lipzgraz Verdächtig Tod Durch Krämpfe’, a painting of the Lipzgraz postmortem

In his final years, due to the pain of rejection, Lipzgraz worked mostly in secret, only sharing his work with his inner circle of friends. But then finally believing he’d made a major breakthrough in geometry, he once again submitted his findings to the Austrian Academy of National Academics, only to die the very next day. According to his autopsy, he’d expired due to excessive cramp in his left arm. He was only 74.


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