There are arguably two right ways to eat a slice of pizza. 1. You pick up a slice and let it flop over with no support whatsoever, raising the slice over your mouth so you can effectively take a bite. 2. You fold the slice inward — almost all the way in half, then take a bite without needing to maneuver your head in an uncomfortable position.
That’s it. It’s one or the other (using a fork and knife is sacrilegious, so we won’t even discuss that option).
Well as it turns out, if you eat a slice of pizza by folding it, you’re probably a math genius. Curving a slice of pizza before it enters your mouth utilizes mathematician Carl Gauss’s “theorem egregium” or the “remarkable theorem.”
In a video on the Numberphile YouTube channel, mathematician Clifford Stoll proves that pizza works best by using Gaussian curvature.
But what exactly is Gaussian curvature?
“Gaussian curvature reflects the combination of two distinct curvatures (such as on an x-axis and a y-axis). A cylinder, for instance, has zero curvature because while measuring in one direction produces an outward curve, the other way is flat. A sphere always has positive curvature,” Gizmodo notes.
Stoll explains how certain foods like bananas, oranges and bagels maintain curvature, but foods like pizza are partially flat and have zero curvature no matter how they’re bent. By folding the pizza slice, you’re improving the rigidity, and therefore experiencing Gaussian curvature.
So if you don’t fold your pizza slice, you may want to reconsider. Because math.
Check out Stoll’s explanation: