## Wednesday, August 10, 2011

### Pizza, Pi and Packaging.

Your mind is a muscle. You must use it to strengthen it. If you don't, it will atrophy and hasten your descent toward dementia (which is not the name of a town in the Midwestern USA). Following are a pair of practical problems involving Pizza, Pi and Packaging. Try 'em.

Background:

Fabian Focaccia (not his real name, which is Sal Monella)  is a struggling 'artist' who is working at a neighborhood pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York (not his real location, as he is in the Federal Witness Protection Program, but which is still the best geographical location to make a pizza purchase if you/ youse should ever get around to it) to pay his bills until he can sell one of his paintings. He is faced with a decision and needs your help. He has cardboard boxes for 'take out' pizza (this pizza parlor does a big take-out business -- even for Arizona...oops!) which are each three inches deep (irrelevant for solving this problem) and measure exactly 20 inches by 20 inches square.

The Pizza Box Puzzle (In Two Parts):

1) What is the circumference of the largest pizza (assume that it is hand-tossed and perfectly round) which can be placed in the box neatly, i.e., placing it flat without stuffing it in and distorting its perfect shape? and,

2) What is the circumference of the largest individual pie (out of two) which can be placed in the box if two pies of equal size are placed in a cardboard container of the same dimensions as in number 1, above?

Knowing the geometric properties of circles, triangles and squares certainly does come in handy when it comes to practical everyday matters. This is high-utility knowledge, and sometimes a great deal of dough may be at stake. [cue groaning].

Douglas E Castle

p.s. Answers within the next 2 days.

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