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Filling a Klein Bottle with M&Ms

Bernard Y. Tao is a scientist at a large midwestern university somewhere in the soybean/corn belt. He poses an interesting question akin to those explored in the Statistic for this Week.

He and three colleagues did research to establish both theoretical and empirical values for the number of M & M's needed to fill a Klein bottle. Tao admits he did the research with the hope of obtaining a Klein bottle for free, with or without M & M's in it.

Now, the odd thing...a Klein bottle has only one side. Thus, it can be viewed as having either zero volume or an infinite volume. The debate continues...Can such a bottle be filled with M & M's?

The researchers used four methods to estimate the number of M & M's needed: Physical Chemistry estimation, Mathematical estimation, Liberal arts estimation, and Engineering estimation. Please read Tao's research report...especially the liberal arts method of estimation. Also, they openly admit that their research results are suspect because a "lab assistant noted a mysterious brown smudge on the researcher's lips."

It is nice to know that scientists have a sense of humor!