Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:42

University of Sheffield's cake-based maths

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Dr. Cheng in the University of Sheffield video Dr. Cheng in the University of Sheffield video

Video of lecturer’s Battenberg cake based maths class goes online in a series of food based maths lessons which also includes 'the perfect glass of wine'.

A senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield has employed a unique way of teaching mathematics — by using a Battenberg cake.

Dr Eugenia Cheng uses the edible prop in a video released by the university in a bid to ‘make maths more digestible’.

Opening with a sequence introducing a sleeping bunny rabbit(!), Cheng unceremoniously throws the soft-toy to one side and begins describing flipping a mattress.

The surreal intro is quickly explained away as the Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics demonstrates the outcomes of flipping the mattress, resulting in a table that resembles a Battenberg cake.

The ‘perfect Battenberg cake’ video expands the principle to make an even bigger cake. (Mmmmm. Cake!).

Describing the larger table, Cheng says: “if you look at this — and just squint your eyes a bit so you can’t see very well — its like a Battenberg cake of Battenberg cakes. Its the iterated Battenberg cake!”

Explaining the reasoning behind the video, the lecturer states: “There’s actually a serious point to all that, which is to do with the classification of finite groups.”

To be honest we just want to eat the cake by this point, but probably need something to wash it down with… how about the perfect glass of wine, Dr Cheng?

And if you fancy sharing out that cake, Dr Cheng also has the perfect way to do so:

Last modified on Sunday, 11 May 2014 11:37

I am me. Sheffield born, bred and proud. A Sheffield Wednesday fan, web person and marketing guy. I have a huge and varied musical tastes. Watch TV and Films like most others, so I am pretty much... errr... 'normal'. Whatever that means.

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