Wandering the internet today, I stumbled upon pasta and mathematics. At the same time. Chris Tiee, a teaching assistant for one of UCSD’s vector calculus courses, had put into his class notes back in 2006 a short and very cute parametric equations quiz: match the parametric equations to the pasta shape. And he (or UCSD) conveniently left his notes on the web for posterity — or should I say pastarity?

His parametric equations were pretty basic — absolutely fine for a vector calculus quiz — and I thought I might be able to touch them up a bit. Here’s what I came up with for conchiglie rigati.

This exercise is also my excuse for finally getting MathJax up and running on my blog. [Update: I’ve disabled MathJax, because it mucks up non-LaTex posts that have $ characters. At some point I’ll figure out how to configure it amicably, but for now, the pastametric equations are provided as an image file.] You might find that this page loads slowly, and I don’t yet know if I can do anything about that. If  you don’t see any equations below the picture, however, please let me know.