Honors Calculus Students Create Graphic Models of the Great Pringles Challenge
Cruz-Uribe gave the students six weeks and no help.
“The project required very careful measurement of something that is difficult to measure,” Cruz-Uribe said. “They had to go from the physical object to a mathematical description, and then they had to convert that description into graphical imagery.”
In the end, he was impressed. Nearly a dozen students submitted their work, and four went as far as to create a model of their mathematical descriptions using the University’s 3D printers.
“Pringles were designed so that they would nest perfectly on top of each other in the can,” Cruz-Uribe said while placing one of the 3D models on top of a real Pringles chip. “So, if the models are the real shape, then I should be able to stick an actual chip on top of the model and they will fit perfectly together.”
A few of the models came pretty close. Cruz-Uribe hopes to turn the one-off extra-credit project into a future research opportunity for his students and unveil, once and for all, the shape of the Pringle.