Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Math Can Be Fun--And Tasty!

Sometimes the most trivial-sounding problems can involve some intense math. Who ever would have thought that cutting and eating pizza could involve decades of work?

The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-centre, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-centre cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighbouring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza - and if not, who will get more?...

As with many mathematical conundrums, the answer has arrived in stages - each looking at different possible cases of the problem.

No comments: