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Sciency stuff....Happy Pi Day!

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Sciency stuff....Happy Pi Day!
Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:18 am
  • But let's use Tau instead. ;)

    Let’s Use Tau—It’s Easier Than Pi

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    There aren't many things that Congress can agree on, but in early 2009 it passed a bipartisan resolution designating March 14th of each year as "Pi Day." Pi, the mathematical constant that students first encounter with the geometry of circles, equals about 3.14, hence its celebration on March 14. The math holiday had been a staple of geeks and teachers for years—festivities include eating pie the pastry while talking about pi the number—but dissent began to appear from an unexpected quarter: a vocal and growing minority of mathematicians who rally around the radical proposition that pi is wrong.

    They don't mean anything has been miscalculated. Pi (π) still equals the same infinite string of never-repeating digits. Rather, according to The Tau Manifesto, "pi is a confusing and unnatural choice for the circle constant." Far more relevant, according to the algebraic apostates, is 2π, aka tau.

    Manifesto author Michael Hartl received his PhD in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology and is only one in a string of established players beginning to question the orthodoxy. Last year the University of Oxford hosted a daylong conference titled "Tau versus Pi: Fixing a 250-Year-Old Mistake." In 2012 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology modified its practice of letting applicants know admissions decisions on Pi Day by further specifying that it will happen at tau time—that is, at 6:28 P.M. The Internet glommed onto the topic as well, with its traditional fervor for whimsical causes. YouTube videos on the subject abound with millions of views and feisty comment sections—hardly a common occurrence in mathematical debates.
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