Mathematics — It’s As Easy as Pi!

November 15, 2017

Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University
430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, USA


Watch the event here!

Mathematics can be tasty! It’s a way of thinking, and not just about numbers. Through unexpectedly connected examples from music, juggling, and baking, Eugenia Cheng, Ph.D., will show that math can be made fun and intriguing for all, through hands-on activities, examples that everyone can relate to, and funny stories. Cheng, a mathmetician, concert pianist, author and yes–baker–will present surprisingly high-level mathematics, including some advanced abstract algebra usually only seen by math majors and graduate students. There will be a distinct emphasis on edible examples. Suitable for all ages including keen children.

ABOUT How to Bake PI: What is math? How exactly does it work? And what do three siblings trying to share a cake have to do with it? In How to Bake Pi, math professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics, powered, unexpectedly, by insights from the kitchen. We learn how the béchamel in a lasagna can be a lot like the number five, and why making a good custard proves that math is easy but life is hard. At the heart of it all is Cheng’s work on category theory, a cutting-edge “mathematics of mathematics,” that is about figuring out how math works. Combined with her infectious enthusiasm for cooking and true zest for life, Cheng’s perspective on math is a funny journey through a vast territory no popular book on math has explored before. So, what is math? Let’s look for the answer in the kitchen.

ABOUT Beyond Infinity: Imagine something small enough to fit in your head but too large to fit in the world-or even the universe. What would you call it? And what would it be? How about…infinity? In Beyond Infinity, musician, chef, and mathematician Eugenia Cheng answers this question by taking readers on a startling journey from math at its most elemental to its loftiest abstractions. Beginning with the classic thought experiment of Hilbert’s hotel-the place where you can (almost) always find a room, if you don’t mind being moved from room to room over the course of the night-she explores the wild and woolly world of the infinitely large and the infinitely small. Along the way she considers weighty questions like why some numbers are uncountable or why infinity plus one is not the same as one plus infinity. She finds insight in some unlikely examples: planning a dinner party for 7 billion people using a chessboard, making a chicken-sandwich sandwich, and creating infinite cookies from a finite ball of dough all tell you more about math than you could have imagined. An irresistible book on the universe’s biggest possible topic, Beyond Infinity will beguile and bewitch you, and show all of us how one little symbol can hold the biggest idea of all.

Event Details

Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall. 430 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL, 60605. Check in begins at 5:30 p.m., program starts at 6:00 p.m. Event is free but advanced registration strongly recommended.

Sandmeyer’s Bookstore will have copies of two of Dr. Cheng’s books, How to Bake Pi and Beyond Infinity, available for purchase. Event will be followed by a book signing with Dr. Cheng.

If you can’t join us in person, join us via live stream on our Facebook page, or at your convenience on our YouTube channel, C2ST TV.


Did you miss our program? To view it in its entirety, go to our YouTube channel, C2ST Tv, and watch at your leisure. To view photos from the program by Paul Crisanti, click here. For more on Eugenia Cheng, visit her website. You can watch her TV appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, read this 2017 piece in The Guardian, this 2016 New York Times feature, and listen to her 2017 interview on Science Friday.