If you don’t find abstract mathematics palatable, try this one. Thanks to George Hart, Chief of Content at The Museum of Mathematics, we finally have proof: it is possible to slice your bagel into two and produce two linked, unbroken halves of this delicacy of Jewish origin (its name comes from Yiddish “beygel”). The proof is constructive.
The layperson might take a quick look and say “Hey, that’s a Möbius strip shaped bagel!” Of course, it obviously isn’t, as it has a cream cheese side and a non-cream cheese side. But Mr. Hart does pose the Möbius bagel problem as a possible extension. My guess is that poor young George’s mathematical growth was seriously impeded by remarks such as “How many times have I told you not to play with your food?!” I definitely see an entrepreneurial opportunity here: just imagine how many math conferences would pay big bucks for catering that features Möbius bagels, dodecahedron-noodle soup, a spaghetti-knot challenge, and many Klein bottles of wine. I am soooo tagging this entry “Food for thought…”
[HT to Jeff Ely at Cheap Talk]