Math Goggles #10 – Bagel Math

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This week’s Math Goggles challenge is a perfect excuse to go out and buy a dozen of freshly baked bagels. At least it was for me. (If you are not sure what is a Math Goggles challenge, read about it here). So the question is what do you get when you slice a bagel.

The answer depends on how you slice it. That’s one reason you need several bagels. Begin by cutting the first bagel horizontally. What will the cross section look like when you finish slicing?  Easy, right?

Next bagel! Instead of making a horizontal cut, slice this one in half vertically. Can you predict what the cross section will look like this time? Still easy-peasy! (And now you know the correct answer next time you see this little puzzle floating around on Facebook)

Time for bagel #3, inspired by James Tanton. Can you slice it in such a way (different from the first two) that the cross section will show two circles? Hint: choose your best-looking (most torus-like) bagel for this one.

The forth bagel can be cut into a trefoil knot which is super easy to do, but you sacrifice the ability to toast your bagel before putting cream cheese on, or rather in, it.

Four down, eight more to go. Time for the big one, George Hart’s interlocking bagel halves puzzle. I made a mistake of putting half my bagels into the freezer, so by the time I attempted this problem, I only had 2 bagels left. And I didn’t want to draw on any of them with a Sharpie. Let’s just say that I learned a few valuable lessons in the process and ended up with a failed, but perfectly edible experiment.

So, sharpen your knife, get out a tub of cream cheese, and keep your eyes open for math!

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