Current Weather
The Spy FM

Mathematically Challenging Bagels

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
November 8, 2012

Surgically, this will be complicated. Mathematically, it will be elegant. What we are going to do is take an ordinary bagel, and rather than cut it in half, we are going to turn it, delicately, into two intertwining, interlocked bagel parts, connected, unbroken, one twisting through the other. In other words, a Mobius bagel.

This is what mathematicians do on lazy afternoons. It’s also a way to have more bagel surface to slap cream cheese on, says math teacher and sculptor George Hart (who’s so skinny, he couldn’t do this often.)

Here’s how it’s done. If you had the hands of a surgeon and the brain of Pythagoras, you would take a knife and carve a gentle, 360-degree slice that dips down and comes back up in a perfect, interior swirl. This video demonstrates the ideal cut, but remember it’s slicing an ideal bagel, with no crumbs, no imperfections, so this will never happen in real life.

But many in real life have tried. Since George Hart published his cutting scheme a few years ago, high schools now regularly ask students to make Mobius bagels (even if the term “Mobius” isn’t quite right, because a true Mobius twists; these break).

Believe me, it isn’t easy. I just tried, and the bagel fell apart because I couldn’t get the knife to make the final near-to-the-surface pass without screwing up. But that’s me. Some people have a gift.

Take “Kirill,” a high school student who chose what appears to be a raisin bagel (which is crazy — adding random, lumpy obstacles is like throwing rocks onto a skating rink), and for his utensil, I think he used a cheap, plastic cafeteria knife, and yet, watch what he does.

One day, Kirill is going to be a brain surgeon.

Me? I’m in radio. My bagel’s in tatters. I’m covered in crumbs. But I’ve got cream cheese, so I’ll be fine. A little ashamed, a little chubbier, but fine. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

7PM to 9PM Millions Now Listening Will Never Die

Millions Now Listening Will Never Die

Our post-punk show, Millions Now Listening Will Never Die, is hosted by the legendary Jon Mooneyham. Jon is also an adjunct teacher at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. He played guitar in the Flaming Lips back in the day and has met and interviewed practically every band alive.

Listen Live Now!

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center