These tiles were discovered by Roger Penrose, the Nobel-prize winning physicist who collaborated with Stephen Hawking. Penrose enjoyed exploring tilings, and he was interested in the problem of finding a set of tiles that only tile the plane aperiodically. This means they aren’t like wallpaper, or typical tiling patterns. Looking at wallpaper, you can move to a new position, and the wallpaper looks the same in all directions. Penrose’s tilings look different if you move to a new point. There are two tile shapes, called thick and thin rhombs.These pieces have the interesting quality that as you put down more tiles, the ratio of thick to thin rhombs becomes the golden ratio. This puzzle gets more challenging as you add more pieces.
The 4"x4"x4" bucket contains 89 thick rhombs and 55 thin rhombs. The tiles come in 5 colors. A 12 page wirebound educational booklet is included.