The extant that mathematics plays in the life of an Indian is best expressed by looking at the simplest of examples…yes….the vadaa: or deep fried lentil doughnuts as they are called. The inventor of the vadaa, which I am sure was a tamilian of the early ages, who being a culinary artist was also a mathematician exemplar. The question I am sure you are asking is, why so?. Let me explain. Lets have a look at the vadaa geometry.

vadaa

Torus (*www.math.hmc.edu)

In creating the doughnut shape the vadaa maker created the topographic shape of a torus. The torus, in the mathematical world is now been called a compact 2D manifold which has no boundary and is not simply connected. The brilliance of the chef is best seen by what he did next. He punched a hole in the center. It was not a simple punch, it was one that was packed with mathematical insight and acumen. The dough from the hole would form a 3D sphere. Its is the same sphere that was listed as one of the 7 millennium problems and was offered a 1 million dollar prize to solve the Poincare conjecture. The mathematical wonders of the vadaa don’t end there. The proof of the Poincare conjecture is based on a theory called the Ricci’s flow. This theory mathematically describes the flow of heat over a given geometry. This undoubtedly was due to the fact that the vadaa is to be deep fried. The geometry would help homogenize the heat flow over the vadaa thereby achieving the perfect crispiness and taste!

So in essence the creator of the vadaa was using high level differential geometry to create an edible mathematical masterpiece. So next time you bite into a vadaa or dunk it in sambhar, it doesn’t matter if you don’t remember how many you have had, but remember that what you are eating is a mathematical marvel!

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Where did u get that vada photo from? it seems to have lost all color and turned white! Not properly fried maybe… An actual vada is the one to its top left, nicely fried…

@vikas: May be its a ‘caucasian’ vadaa!