Yet, it isn’t a day without its controversies. [Imagine music turning ominous…]
As I have mentioned before, there is a very good argument out there that pi (π) should not be the famous “circle constant” and that, rather, the ratio that should garner praise and attention is the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its radius, not its diameter. Since the radius is half the length of the diameter, the ratio would be twice as large (2π = 6.283185307…) and has been quasi-officially dubbed tau (τ).
I find the argument hard to resist. Read about it yourself on the tauday.com or in the Tau Manifesto. Personally, one of the most winning arguments is the effect on circle-related equations. For instance, the formula for the area of a circle changes from…
A = π r ²
A = ½ τ r ²
Now this may not seem like much of an improvement (not to mention it would ruin a lot of “pie are round not square” jokes). But, when you consider how well it matches the form of many other standard equations in nature (e.g., Kinetic Energy: E = ½ m v ²; Rotational Kinetic Energy: E = ½ I ω ²; Position of a body falling from rest: x(t) = ½ g t ²; Work done stretching a spring: W = ½ k x ²; et al.). [My apologies if the spacing in any of these equations looks odd on your computer (line breaks in the middle, etc.). Not adding spaces crammed everything together too much and I didn’t want to take the time to jump into Latex for the formatting.]
I don’t necessarily like what changing from π to τ does to the universe’s most beautiful equation (explained here), but I admit that I am warming up to it as time goes on. (Sometimes, you just have to let go, you know?)
And, I find it irritating that the number e doesn’t get near the publicity that π does, as I am a much bigger fan of e than π. At the same time, begrudging one number’s success and attention just because another is more neglected than it should be seems a violation of 1 Cor. 12:26. 🙂
So, if Pi Day has you in the mood to peruse some blog posts of the mathematical variety, feel free and explore those below. And enjoy the rest of the day!
Here are some links on some math-related questions:
- Why is a negative times a negative a positive?
- Why does 0.99999… = 1?
- Why is “that equation” so beautiful?
“Any thoughts on fractals, the Bible, and the mind of God and stuff?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Here’s a host of links, some with more material than others. (I’m too lazy to look and see which ones are worth reading and which ones are worth ignoring. 🙂 ):
- Fractals on the brain…
- The “Fractal” Aspect of Scripture
- Fractals, Self-Similarity, and Scripture
- Fractals and the Mind of God
- Fractals and Mathematics — Is It Art?
“Any videos on the pi/tau controversy I could watch?” Indeed! I present the always delightful Vi Hart not the topic…
Actually, a YouTube search would net you several such videos. But, as always, caveat navita stans.
Regardless of how you celebrate it (or don’t), have a great Pi Day!