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22 and the Lazy Caterer

Some pancake-cutting caterer did a terrible job here, but they did use only 3 straight cuts to make 7 pieces. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some pancake-cutting caterer did a terrible job here, but they did use only 3 straight cuts to make 7 pieces.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Math, catering, and laziness intersect at 22: “Twenty-two is a pentagonal number and a centered heptagonal number. When cutting a circle with just six line segments, the maximum number of pieces that can be so created is 22,[1] thus 22 is a central polygonal number.” Which leads us to the lazy caterer’s sequence, which I am quoting full on here because I am a lazy blogger.

The lazy caterer’s sequence, more formally known as the central polygonal numbers, describes the maximum number of pieces of a circle (a pancake or pizza is usually used to describe the situation) that can be made with a given number of straight cuts. For example, three cuts across a pancake will produce six pieces if the cuts all meet at a common point, but seven if they do not. (Source)

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