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Research Administrator in the Kitchen

By SRAI News posted 08-11-2022 01:15 PM


Research Administrator in the Kitchen

I recently bought a pre-prepared quiche and discovered, to my delight, that a serving size was “one-fifth” of the pie. My first thought was how does one cut a pie into fifths? I was familiar with the process for cutting a pie into eighths, but since a fifth of a quiche is a bigger (and definitely more desirable) than an eighth of a quiche, I decided I needed to figure how out to do this.  

My first thought was to calculate the number of degrees in a fifth of a circle (72 degrees) and then use a compass to mark off each 72-degree section of the pie, but since the last time I used a compass was in the 9th grade, I decided to keep thinking. 

Another approach that occurred to me was to cut the quiche into tenths and then combine every two tenths to obtain five “fifths.”  However, this sounded even more problematic than cutting the quiche into fifths and something that would not produce a very attractive outcome. 

Then my husband suggested a “pie cutting template.”  He often surprises me with all the things he knows.  Apparently, such things are used in restaurants and bakeries to get perfectly sized pie slices.  I looked up pie-cutting templates on Amazon and, sure enough, there were a number of pie-cutting templates available, including a template that would yield five slices.  Unfortunately, I did not have the time to wait for an Amazon delivery. 

I found some other workable solutions on the Internet, but this is the one that stood out as a perfect RA solution: Open up an Excel spreadsheet, create a column with five cells of data, use your cursor to select/highlight the data, and then ask the Excel program to convert that data into a pie chart.  Voila! In two seconds, I had a pie template divided into five equal portions.  

All I had to do was increase the size of the pie chart, print out a larger version, position the template in the middle of the quiche, and use the spokes of the pie chart to cut the quiche into five equal slices. 

Sometimes it is really cool to be a research administrator!

Authored by Pamela F. Miller, PhD, Executive Director, Sponsored Projects Office
University of California, Berkeley