The Visible Cheese Project

Munching on some Emmental tonight, I found myself wondering if the holes are exactly spherical, or elongated. I suspect X-ray or MRI analysis would be tricky, since the cheese itself is moderately soft (and, one presumes, low contrast), but slicing the cheese sufficiently thinly should allow one to reconstruct the hole profile.

That led to my considering automating the slicing process, and feeding the slices into a scanner of some description, eventually allowing a three-dimensional digital reconstruction of the cheese. Invert for density, and one would be left with a number of holes hanging in void space, whereupon their spheralicity should be readily discernible.

With reference to the Visible Human Project (Wikipedia), I name this the ‘Visible Cheese Project.”

Future developments will involve an exploration of the vein structure in various blue cheeses.

[For the record, I’m assuming the holes are predominantly spherical, given the nature of their formation as bubbles of carbon dioxide. But I could be wrong.]


  1. Alternatively you could inject a resin into the holes, and, after it sets, peel away the original substrate. Similar to the plaster injection technique used to uncover the Vesuvian ash victims in Pompeii. Only, you know… for cheese.

  2. Not my field, but why would the cheese be low contrast for MRI?

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