Okay, it isn’t exactly Fermat’s Last Theorem, but it’s enough to drive you at least slightly batty:
It is a puzzle that has perplexed physicists for decades: hold a strand of dry spaghetti at both ends, bend it until it snaps, and you will always end up with three or more pieces.
In 2005, researchers in France finally discovered why: after the initial break, the brittle stick flexes back in the opposite direction, snapping itself again.
Yet a lingering question mark still hovered over the culinary conundrum. Was it possible, with the right technique, to snap a strand of spaghetti into two pieces?
After breaking apart hundreds of pieces of pasta in a specially-constructed apparatus, a team of mathematicians led by Jörn Dunkel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have concluded it is possible, provided you add a twist into the mix.
Sometimes it takes MIT to solve a problem.
Using a pair of clamps, they twisted strands of spaghetti almost 360 degrees before bringing the two clamps together until the strand broke. With this method, the found they could reliably snap the spaghetti into just two pieces.
Journal reference: PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1802831115