When presented with a huge slice of pizza -- you know, the ones that are bigger than the average person's face -- most people's instincts instruct them to hold the crust in a U shape in order to prevent the tip from sagging down. Why does this work? And how do we know how to do this? Because, MATH.The 19th-century principle of Gaussian curvature explains how this most basic of instinct makes eating enormous pieces of pizza possible. Aatish Bhatia of Wired explains:
"Gauss’s remarkable theorem assures us that one direction of the slice must always remain flat — no matter how you bend it, the pizza must retain a trace of its original flatness... by folding the pizza slice sideways, you’re forcing it to become flat in the other direction –- the one that points towards your mouth. Theorema egregium, indeed."
If it weren't for this mathematical principle we'd be perpetually failing at eating NY slices of pizza. Or, we'd resort to a knife and fork which is clearly not looked upon favorably in the Big Apple. Next slice you eat, say your thanks to Gauss first.