Featured Event – Mathematical Bake-off


I am the organiser of the Mathematical Bake-off: Understanding mathematics by baking at the School of Mathematics on Monday 20th February, 12-2pm. During the workshop, you will have the opportunity to present your own cake (or any other baked goods) related to mathematics. It can be an illustration of the Pythagorean Theorem, a depiction of the Schrödinger equation or your favourite fractal. The connection can be symbolical or metaphorical, your creativity decides! You will also listen to other presentations and researchers will tell you about their revolutionary research. If you have a competitive spirit, I want to let you know there will be a competition for the most creative work with a prize! And yes of course, we will eat the cakes afterwards. For anyone interested, we will have a session 15th February from 5-6 pm in Room 3211, James Clerk Maxwell Building, King’s Buildings, to give you inspiration and get you started with your fabulous cake. Please send an email to s1614043@sms.ed.ac.uk to sign-up.

Originally from Sweden (yes, we invented IKEA) I moved to Edinburgh in September for the accelerated Mathematics program. I have always been keen on trying to get people understand how interesting and important mathematics is and I joined the Mathematics Outreach Team in the autumn. We brainstormed about what events the School could run for the Festival of Creative Learning and one of the ideas that came up was mathematical baking. I remembered I gave one of my mathematics teachers a kind of artwork with gingerbread formed of numbers and integrals, so I thought I have to organise this event! Thinking about the aims of the Festival I thought it would be a tremendous idea to engage staff members. Science is about communicating what you have discovered to the broad public and by organising this event I will give researchers the opportunity to share their interesting research. Mathematics is also considered an abstract subject but by using baking this abstractness will hopefully be less intimidating. Sure, I admit it may be hard to explain mathematics just with a cake, but if you truly understand your area, you should be able to explain it as simply as possible. One example of an area of mathematics that immediately came to mind was topology. Topology is a branch of mathematics where we are interested about properties that remain the same after we stretch and bend the space, for example, a teacup can be deformed into a doughnut. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to understand the notion of genus by looking at different cakes.

It is the first time I will have run this type of event. The success of the event is dependent of the creativeness of the participants, so I will not know until the day whether there will be any amazing cakes…so please come along and join other enthusiasts for a great time! I hope to see you on the 15th and/or 20th February in James Clerk Maxwell Building.

Daniel Eriksson

If you like the sound of this event you may also be interested in: Knitting and Knot Theory, Escape with Fermat’s Lost Proof, The Eyes and Ears of Hyperloop, iGEM Sandpit, Meet Eat Drink Think

3 Replies to “Featured Event – Mathematical Bake-off”

  1. Hello Daniel — I will be visiting Edinburgh for the Festival Creative Learning, coming from the United States. I have signed up for this Session and am very much looking forward to this wonderfully creative take on mathematics — and perhaps some tasty cakes as well!

    –Sue Johnston


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