Home Lifestyle Mathematician explains why Easter eggs don’t fit back in the tin foil

Mathematician explains why Easter eggs don’t fit back in the tin foil

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High angle view of golden chocolate easter eggs on pink background (Credits: Getty Images)

One of the greatest Easter egg mysteries has finally been solved thanks to science.

It’s the Easter weekend and after tearing open all of your delicious chocolate eggs, you’ve definitely noticed that the sweet treats are tightly wrapped in foil. 

But why foil in particular? Sure, the material is shiny and looks fabulously smooth but as it turns out, there’s a mathematical reason as to why. 

Why are Easter eggs wrapped in foil?

The science behind wrapping Easter eggs has been revealed (Picture: Getty Images)

Dr. Saul Schleimer, a mathematician from the University of Warwick, has shared the delightful connection between the way Easter eggs are wrapped and what is known as ‘mathematical curvature’.

It’s more complicated than you think. ‘When you wrap an egg with foil, there are always wrinkles in the foil,’ the professor explained to phys.org.

‘This doesn’t happen when you wrap a box. The reason is that foil has zero Gaussian curvature (a measure of flatness), while an egg has (variable) positive curvature. 

‘Perfect wrapping (without wrinkles) requires that the curvatures match’.

Unlike a flat surface, eggs have variable positive curvature. This makes it a challenging task to wrap them without creases or distortions. Because foil has a flat surface and zero Gaussian curvature, it contrasts with the egg’s curved shape. 

It all goes back to Christian traditions (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

To look at why we give Easter eggs we must first look at the meaning of the holiday itself. It’s a Christian festival celebrating when Jesus died on the cross but was resurrected three days after his death by crucifixion. 

There is an Anglo-Saxon legend that tells of goddess Eostre that ties into why eggs are this symbol of new life.

Eostre found a bird that had been wounded and turned it into a hare so it would be able to survive the winter. Upon doing this, the hare realised it could lay eggs itself, and would decorate them during Springtime and offer them to the goddess who helped her.

Some believe that Easter eggs came about to show the new life that Christians believe Jesus gave, evolving on from the ancient tradition of the Saxons. This is likely also where the tale of the Easter Bunny came from.

Due to the fact some Christians fast over Easter (and use up all their eggs on Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day), it’s also thought that the giving of eggs signals the return to enjoying them and a follow-on from when folks would have to eat the surplus of eggs that chickens had laid around fasting time.

Initially, gifts given on Easter were painted bird’s eggs, but as chocolate became more common in the 20th, the ones we know today were developed.

How’s that for a little food for thought!

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