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Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day

Its March 14th (3/14) and The Center of Math would like to wish everyone a happy Pi day! Weather today is an excuse to make pie, eat pie or throw it in someones face, we hope its a good one! Taking a trip back to basic mathematics, Pi (π) or 3.14, is the ratio of a circles circumference, its distance around, to its diameter. As Pi is a constant number, it will remain the same for all circles of any size.


The History of Pi dates back to the Old Testament of the Bible. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with several sides to measure circles and concluded that Pi was approximately 22/7. The adoption of  "π" was first used in 1706 by William Jones, symbolizing "p" for "perimeter." In more recent years, Pi has been calculated to more than one trillion digits past its decimal. However, only 39 digits past the decimal are required to calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe. Many find it an entertaining challenge to memorize as many digits as they can, especially today, when several Pi memorizing competitions take place.

To date, the longest recitation of Pi is held by Akira Haraguchi. On March 14, 2015 (last year's Pi day), the 60 year old man needed more than 16 hours to recite the number to 100,000 decimals, breaking his 1995 personal best of 83,431. Haraguchi developed a system where he assigns kana symbols, or Japanese scripts, to memorize Pi as a collection of stories. The same system was developed by C.S. Lewis, who assigned letters from the alphabet to numbers, creating stories to memorize numbers. 

However, the Guinness Book of World Records has not yet accepted any of his records set, making them unofficial. The Guinness-recognized number of π is held by Rajveer, 21, reaching 70,000 digits. Rajveer wore a blindfold throughout the entire recall, which took nearly 10 hours.  


Tau VS Pi 
Currently, the "Tau VS Pi" debate lies under the premise that,"pi is a confusing and unnatural choice for the circle constant. Far more relevant, according to the algebraic apostates, is 2π, aka tau." Tau
supporters argue that mathematicians don't necessarily care about pi's ratio, a circles circumference with its diameter. Almost every mathematical equation about circles in written in terms of r for radius, and tau is the number that connects a circumference to that quantity.

Critics don't mean anything as been miscalculated, Pi still equals the same infinite string of never-repeating digits, however professor Robert Palais started the "pi is wrong" outburst with an article to match. The article delves into the various ways using tau in beneficial when learning and solving fundamental concepts in trigonometry. For example, with pi-based thinking, one third of a circle equates to two thirds pi radians, and three quarters around is one and a half pie radians. Sounds complicated for a beginner, right? By contract, a third of a circle is a third of tau, and three quarters of a circle is three quarters tau. Palais remarks, "the opportunity to impress students with a beautiful and natural simplification is turned into an absurd exercise in memorization and dogma."    
Another major plus side of a universe where Pi is replaced by Tau, you get to eat twice as much pie on Tau Day! 
On a lighter, more fun note, check out some Pi Day inspired youtube videos! 


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