Eat your math cookies with Francesco De Comite

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Invite your kids to play with their food – and at the same time, with their math! Here are some Math Maker ideas and beautiful photos from our guest Francesco De Comite.

Escher bird cookies
Escher bird tessellation cookies.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Sciences of Lille, France. My research is about geometry and the representation of mathematical shapes in 2D and 3D, using images or sculptures, paper models, or 3D printing. I am working somewhere between maths, programming, and art. In the spirit of George Hart’s work (have you seen his cookie roller?), I explore different ways of producing mathematical shapes.
Doyle Spiral would taste nice in chocolate, but for now, it’s virtual.
Escher moth tessellation cookies.

What do you like about food as a medium?
Food is an interesting field of investigation, since you can manipulate different textures, different softness, and different materials. Of course, I could have used clay, but the fact that the material is edible adds a dimension to this activity: I can create complicated shapes that I know will be eaten, and will disappear at the end. The fun is in the making, not in keeping the created objects.

These food sculptures definitely have child appeal. Do you have kids, or work with kids?
My children are a little bit old now to play with me, but they are always interested (and surprised) by what I am doing with cooking material. And they help me eat the work afterwards!


Apollonian gasket fractals grissini bread.

What activity would you recommend to kids or newbies who want to start playing with math – and their food?
Cookies, definitely: cut shapes, assemble elementary shapes to make mosaics, or use Sierpinski triangles…

What question do you want to ask your fans?
I am not sure I have fans, but I will be glad if my work gives ideas to other people, and I will be happy to see what they are able to invent in that same spirit.

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    1. […] chocolate-chip cookies, or make other shapes using a cookie cutter. We’re loving these math-y cookies made by computer science professor Francesco de Comite. The birds lock together perfectly with […]

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