Numberphile Presents The Scientific Method of Cutting Cake


According to a rediscovered Nature magazine article from 1906, you are cutting cake entirely wrong.

If you believe that science is all about theroetical warp drives and the creation of stars, let me assure you that it offers immediate, practical, and relevant applications, including the proper way to cut a cake. Numberphile, a YouTube video series sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, addressed this pressing issue by pointing out that current cake-cutting methods actually dry out later slices, which is catastrophic when you’re craving late-night leftovers. Thankfully, a scientific alternative was devised 100 years ago, buried within the letters section of a 1906 issue of Nature magazine.

The problem with the usual method of cutting triangular cake slices is when you store leftovers, the exposed cake interior dries out, leaving portions that aren’t as delicious to bite into. The solution, published as “Cutting a Round Cake on Scientific Principles,” proposes cutting slices across the entire length of the cake and pressing the remaining portions together to preserve freshness.

“The ordinary method of cutting out a wedge is very faulty,” the article reads. “The results to be aimed at are so to cut the cake that the remaining portions shall fit together.”

While this cake-cutting method takes some getting used to, it could be worth pursuing. Not only will it keep leftover cake fresh, the concept of a massive “prime cut” slice is one that absolutely needs to be adopted on a wider scale.

What do you think? Will you use this cake-cutting method on your next birthday? Or do you still prefer the usual unscientific method?


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