“Math Monday” and the Mathematically-Correct Breakfast

Education Science
“Math Monday” and the Mathematically-Correct Breakfast

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We’re thrilled to be introducing a new weekly feature here on Make: Math Mondays. Every week, guest author George Hart, from the newly-formed Museum of Mathematics, will post a fun, experiential, puzzling little item, exploring some intriguing aspect of mathematics. The Math Museum is dedicated to raising people’s awareness of the wondrous mathematical patterns and structures that exist all around us. They do this through such experiential means as their Math Midway, a traveling circus of hands-on exhibitions, that brings math to life in tangible and fun ways… and now, through a weekly column on Make:.

We hope you’ll make George feel welcome, and that you’ll get a good educated kick out of what he’ll be offering up each week. This week, he starts by offering up… breakfast. — Gareth

Mathematically-Correct Breakfast

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Start your day right by making this challenging bagel cut, and see if you’re really awake yet. Can you figure out how to slice a bagel into two congruent halves which pass through each others holes, like two links of a chain? Hint: The motion of the knife follows the surface of a two-twist Mobius strip. If you hack up a dozen bagels and still haven’t solved the puzzle, you can check out the instructions here.


[Editor’s note: Although the cream cheese might make it hard to discern, these two bagel halves are continuous and inter-locked.]

All About George:
George W. Hart is a research professor in the computer science department at Stony Brook University, NY. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, both from MIT. He is the author of a linear algebra monograph, Multidimensional Analysis, (Springer Verlag, 1995) and a geometry text, Zome Geometry, (coauthored with Henri Picciotto, Key Curriculum Press, 2001). Hart is a sculptor developing innovative ways to use computer technology in the design and fabrication of his artwork. His sculpture has been exhibited around the world and can be seen at www.georgehart.com. He is also very active in developing novel construction workshops as ways to communicate the richness and excitement of mathematics. Currently, Hart is on sabbatical, working to start up the hands-on Museum of Mathematics.

30 thoughts on ““Math Monday” and the Mathematically-Correct Breakfast

  1. Phillip Torrone says:

    great new series!

  2. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Yeah, I’m psyched. Thanks for hooking us up, PT!

  3. Micah says:

    What kind of toaster does this bagel fit in?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Oh, just your regular Klein Toaster.

  4. Gareth Branwyn says:

    The oven variety.

  5. Marc de Vinck says:

    Love the new series! Looks like I’ll be having some mathematically-correct breakfast tomorrow!

  6. KentKB says:

    Now I am , – Like hungry, “∞” forever…. for more.

  7. Cindy Robin says:

    George Hart is amazing! Can’t wait to see his next blog.

  8. Pete McP says:

    …or how to lose a finger in one easy step.

  9. kat says:

    This is awesome. I’m so glad Makezine started this series, hope it live long and prosper!

  10. Dennis F says:

    Really enjoyed your new series. Keep it, please. Math is the universal language, in a practical sense, as love is in the philosophical. Unfortunately, I’m practical, at least that’s what my wife says! And it really isn’t “hard” as so many seem to think. When I was a senior in college, with poor grades, I looked back at high school and thought about what I was good at and enjoyed. I changed my major to math and grades went to As. Sometimes we don’t always make the right choices at first, but math got me my first job. Turns out the department head was also a math major.

  11. frins says:

    I´ve tried the test to slice a bagel into two congruent halves which pass through each others holes, like two links of a chain, however, I have not succeeded. Maybe because I had taken before already a drink. Nevertheless, this would be a good test of the police, to catch alcohol sinner.

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    Wow, thats cool. Thanks for the article!

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

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