Pizza Pi: For the Value-Driven Engineer

I found this slip of paper on the kitchen counter.


Thinking it was a
remnant from one of my sons' geometry problems, I started to throw it
away (if you leave your garbage lying on my kitchen counter, you run
that risk) but then I had a change of heart.  

"Does this belong to either of you guys?"


And the mystery deepened. Because it certainly wasn't mine. And my daughter's not at Thumbnail image for bigpi.jpgr-squared in math yet.

"Jeff? Is this yours?"

I stare at the yellow Post-it, the mystery still squarely in place.

"I was trying to find out which size pizza would be a better value."

That's the beauty of living with an engineer; the potential for comedy is always just a Post-it note away.

Only that kind of mathematical mind would think to use pi on a pie. I wish I'd found the note on pi day (3.14), then I would have had a triple pie, which I think would be something along the lines of a hat trick in the geometry/engineering world.

"So, what did you find out?" I asked him, because I'm a value-minded shopper as well.

Well, it turns out the bargain is the two medium pizzas vs. one large. Who knew? Apparently only engineers who determine the surface areas of a pizzas in the interest of smart consumerism. Or fun. I imagine engineers would do this for fun.

The whole situation reminds me of a YouTube video,

which I think is hilarious. At least I'm hoping they made the video for fun, because I'd hate to think of anyone being truly serious about wanting to know the aspect ratio of a jumping cat. The idea they weren't being facetious brings to mind a caution my father gave me when I headed off to college, "Don't marry an engineer. They're boring." He has an engineering degree, so I suppose he should know, but I think the real caution lies in being cautious in what you caution your children about. Throughout college I almost exclusively dated engineers.

Although, of course, I managed to marry the most interesting of those engineers :-)

Little did I know at the time, how handy it would be to be married to an engineer, as one of their most charming characteristics is to point out the flaw (or flaws) in every plan or idea you ever have, which is useful if your plan or idea is truly flawed. Merely annoying if you still want to go forward anyway.

I suppose now might be a good time to point out, when considering food, that weight or volume would be a more accurate measure than area in determining value, but he would probably come back at me with some noise about how he would assume the volume of the pizza would remain constant across all pizzas for an equal measure of area. See how interesting this is?

At least he's never measured the aspect ratios of our cats. As far as I know.

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