Hungry to try some math?

You and some friends decide to order a large cheese pizza. The delivery guy arrives in 30 minutes or less, but tells you the pizza parlor forgot to slice the pie. No problem, you say, wielding a new cutter. Your challenge: Divide the pizza into eight pieces for your friends - eagerly waiting to feast - by making only three cuts.

Answer: This is a brain teaser as well as a test of creativity. It's impossible with only three straight cuts to make eight pieces. The most you can make is seven, says math professor John Wolfe of Oklahoma State University. But you can solve it if you make a circle around its center (which would count as one) and then carve an X, using up the last two. There are other ways to solve the problem as well, involving various curved cuts. Another approach is to fold the pizza in half first. Then, three cuts can produce eight slices or more.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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