On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Dr. Eugenia Cheng, author of How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics (Basic Books, May 2015). Cheng’s research is about category theory—which she calls the “mathematics of mathematics.” When teaching category theory, she found it was so abstract that analogies were a good way to help students grasp important concepts. She plucks analogies from all sorts of themes, but the most commonly used analogies have to do with food. Hence, the book, which is filled with not only math but also recipes.

We also talk to contributing editor Erin Blakemore about the woman in Germany who posed as Anastasia, daughter of the ousted Russian Tsar Nicholas II. (Weird fact: The impostor didn’t even speak Russian.)

Music this hour: