Pringles

This article about the saddle-shape of Pringles is a joy to read [ht: Prisca Chase]. I’ll give you an excerpt, but I encourage you to read the whole thing. It’s both mathematically stimulating and extremely funny:

Saddle up for maximum snack satisfaction (mathematically speaking)

Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

My husband is a calculus professor and one who brings food items into the classroom with surprising regularity. No, he doesn’t bring pies on Pi day – though he can recite the string up to a couple dozen digits – but he does bring Pringles. As a teaching aid.

This afternoon when I walked into his study, I nearly tripped over a plastic Safeway bag filled with six red cans of Pringles. “Is it Pringles Day already?” I asked, nudging the bag. Pringles Day is the day Dr. Mathra lectures on the classification of critical points in multivariable calculus, and he uses the saddle-shaped Pringles to illustrate his points.

After class, the students get to eat his illustrations. It’s their favorite day.

(more)

Later in the article, the fact that a Pringle can’t be made from a sheet of paper is mentioned. For a normal sheet of paper, this is true. But you can fold paper in such a way as to approximate a hyperbolic parabaloid. I’ve mentioned this before here and here. So go try it!

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