After you’ve waited in line, presumably famished, to be seated at a table at your favorite restaurant, there’s nothing worse or more urgently pressing than a table that isn’t leveled.
Cue mental images of toppling glasses of red wine, or plates of spaghetti with slipping and sliding meatballs threatening to fall off your plate and into your lap. And the awkward height difference that happens when you butt the two un-matching tables to accommodate your group’s new arrivals, creating a “cliff” down the middle of the joining of the tables.
A table that wobbles just isn’t pleasant for anyone involved, including the server who has to awkwardly bend down and shove five packets of sugar between the floor and the table stopper.
So next time you’re seated at a square table with four equal-length legs, and you find yourself in this universally frustrating predicament, remember the wise words of this Numberphile interview between Dr. James Grime and the enlightened German mathematician, Matthias Kreck from the University of Bonn; Matthias specializes in Algebraic Topology and Differential Topology.
Who’d have thought math could trump the age-old folded coaster or sugar pack trick? According to Matthias, “Mathematicians never have unstable tables. They know what to do.”
Click below to see the astoundingly simple solution to the instability of a table on uneven ground.