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Tie your bagel in a knot!

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

Our post on how to cut a bagel into two linked halves was so popular that we thought we’d show you some more mathematical food play: how to knot a bagel. (This also works with inner tubes, but they’re very chewy.)

knot 2 3 Math Monday: Tie your bagel in a knot!

The bread of a bagel forms a simple loop, which mathematicians call “the unknot.” But there are two easy ways to cut a bagel into a simple overhand knot, or “trefoil” knot. Above is a what mathematicians call “the (2,3)-torus knot toasted with cream cheese.”

knot 3 2 string dotted Math Monday: Tie your bagel in a knot!

Another is the (3,2)-torus knot, shown here with a string following the path of the bagel, to make it clear how it’s a trefoil knot.

Detailed recipes for both of these breakfasts are shown here.

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Introducing “Math Monday”

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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