Paper Monitor: A toast to toast

  • 4 September 2013
Buttered toast

Paper Monitor is thinking about breakfast more than usual today.

That's because some of the papers think they've found the secret to what the Daily Mail describes as a "sticky issue that has plagued scientists - and breakfast tables - for decades".

The perplexing problem? Why toast seems to always fall butter-side down.

Now Paper Monitor doesn't make a habit of dropping its toast.

But something about the buttery browned bread's persistent plight piqued its interest.

Apparently, it's all to do with the height of the table, according to the Mail. That's because after a piece of toast topples off the edge, "it only has time to perform a half-somersault before it lands", it says.

The paper reveals that researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University dropped 100 slices from a table to come to this conclusion.

They used a table that was two and a half feet high, and in 81% of cases, the buttered side hit the floor.

"The upshot is that if you want to ensure your toast lands butter side up then you should invest in a higher table - approximately 8ft high - that allows the toast to rotate a full 360 degrees. Failing that - try not to drop the toast," the paper helpfully quotes food expert Professor Chris Smith, of Manchester Metropolitan University, as saying.

Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph has another, typically more highbrow, take on the story.

"Think (w-Rav)/t=R, or have cornflakes," is its headline.

Lost already? Apparently the air pockets in a slice of bread create drag as it falls. But buttering one side of the bread changes that surface, altering the level of drag and changing the way it rotates as it falls.

"The speed of rotation (w) minus the rate of rotation influence by drag (Rav) is divided by the time available (t) to give the number of rotations (R) as the bread falls," the paper goes on.

Maths was never Paper Monitor's favourite subject. Better not drop that toast then.

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