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How to Slice a Pizza the Mathematical Way

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How to Slice a Pizza the Mathematical Way
Photo jeffreyw/Flickr

We've seen the scientific way to cut a cake, and now the moment has finally come to put an end to that age old question - what is the best way to cut up a pizza so that everyone gets an equal slice?

Thanks to two Mathematicians, Joel Haddley and Stephen Worsley from Liverpool University, we are closer to the solution. The pizza loving duo have set about answering the slicing conundrum with 'monohedral disc tiling,' or, 'slice shape perfection' in a scientific paper; 'Infinite families of monohedral disk tilings. The results detail the complex mathematical theory to divvying up a round pizza fairly, and with the help of some pretty patterns, prove that a minimum of 12 to infinity slices can be all be created equally. So with some nifty knife work we can assume that family dischord over pizza need be a thing of the past, or is it?

The Solution:

Previous studies already showed how 6 scythe shaped pieces of pizza radiating outwards from a central point could be further divided in two in order to produce 12 monohedral tiles, or equal slices, in total.

Images courtesy of Joel Haddley and Stephen Worsley

Haddley and Worsley’s new improved technique proves that as long as you start by cutting your pizza into the initial scythe-shape you can carry on slicing each of those slices to infinity and all will be created equally.

The new improved perfect slicing technique:

Image: Courtesy of Joel Haddley and Stephen Worsley

Haddley has tried out the method, but admitted "I’ve no idea whether there are any applications at all to our work outside of pizza-cutting...But the results are interesting mathematically, and you can produce some nice pictures.” The Daily Meal reported.

Does it work in practice? Take a look at the video below where The Mirror newspaper has given it a go. One cold pizza later the poor results speak for themselves, and that's before we even get started on the unequal crust to topping ratio, and inevitable family disharmony.  

Long live the classic triangle slice along with all its mathematical failings we say.

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