This pizza slicing method is genius but also infuriating

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Monday 29 August 2016 17:00
Picture: HelpingHandPhotos/iStock

Mathematicians in Liverpool have come up with new, inventive ways to slice a pizza, but you may think it's more effort than it's worth.

Apparently a good way to cut pizza is to use intricate patterns, which actual mathematicians at the University of Liverpool chose to investigate.

The work by Joel Haddley and Stephen Worsley builds on an earlier cutting technique called 'monohedral disc tiling'. The mathematicians were investigating the ways of dividing a 2D disc, and thought 'why not make it a pizza with practical applications?'

And people say you'll never use geometry outside of school.

Monohedral disc tiling is done by dividing the pizza into six equals slices using three long cutting lines. For the second phase, you halve each of these slices, creating 12 slices of pizza, including ones without crust for any savages who don't like that part of the pizza.

Picture: arxiv

The University of Liverpool, quoted Worsley explaining how the idea developed.

Our research explored a long standing maths conundrum of cutting a flat disc into equal-sized pieces. We knew solutions existed, however, we were interested in demonstrating a surprising solution where some of the pieces did not touch the centre.

The researchers found that the flat discs could be cut into scythe-shaped, curved slices with any odd-number of sides. There are known as 5-gons, 7-gons, 9-gons.

It was Haddley who applied this to pizza cutting.

Mathematically there is no limit whatsoever to this although it might be impractical to carry out the scheme beyond 9-gon pieces.

Picture: arxiv

Haddley produced a photograph of a pizza sliced and diced for the University's maths department.

Why not give it a go and let us know how it goes?

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