We revisit an interview with Eugenia Cheng, the author of How to Bake Pi, who translates higher math using metaphors that even the most mathematically disinclined can comprehend: infinite layers of puff pastry, endless jars of marmalade, and deep-dish pi(e). She talks about the false dichotomy between mathematics and art, and how understanding math helps you see the world in a new light. Also, how five-year-olds sometimes pose the most difficult questions for mathematicians to answer, like: what’s a number?
Go beyond the episode:
- Eugenia Cheng’s Beyond Infinity
- And her attempt to teach Stephen Colbert how to make puff pastry
- Natalie Angier’s review of How to Bake Pi (verdict: delicious!)
- Watch an animated explanation of the Infinite Hotel Paradox from TED-Ed
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)
Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.