Thursday, September 25, 2014

Student Wisdom Disproven?

Many are the students who have proclaimed, sometimes with great vigor, the uselessness of a specific arcane discipline of math, and thus the inherent unfairness of their being required to learn it.

Once again, real life proves such a supposition wrong. The great 19th century mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss developed a theorem that describes the curvature of a space. Part of Gauss's theorem says that a space will always retain its original Gaussian curvature. A pizza slice, for example, is flat. When it is picked up, it must retain its Gaussian flatness in at least one direction. Thus, a pizza slice with enough toppings or a flexible crust will flop over on the end, unless picked up and curved by hand in the other direction. Thus the point of the pizza slice will remain aimed at the mouth instead of the lap, which is a much handier way of eating it.

The name of this pizza-enhancing theorem? Theorema Egregium, a Latin phrase which translates into English as either "Remarkable Theorem" or "Excellent Theorem."


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