Suppose you have a circular cake or pizza that needs to be cut into six pieces and you don’t have a cooking protractor. How could you cut it into – at least roughly – sixths?
This is something that I’ve always done by eye, and always messed up. Until very recently, when I realised I could harness the power of geometry.
Have a think about it. Solutions below the line.
- Cut a radius ((Finding the centre of the cake is left as an exercise))
- Find the midpoint of the radius
- Eyeball where the perpendicular to that radius meets the cake’s circumference
- Cut a radius to that point
- What you have there is a bona fide sixth of a cake.
The point on the circumference is the same distance from the centre and the end of the first radius, and the two radii are equal, so the angle must be $\piby 3$.
Thirds follow a similar idea.
- Mark the centre of the cake, O
- Find a point, P midway between the centre and the circumference
- Eyeball a perpendicular to OP at P and find where it meets the circumference
- Cut a radius from each of these points to the centre
- Bingo, a third of a cake!
Don’t eat it all at once.
A selection of other posts
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