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'Tau day' marked by opponents of maths constant pi
BBC ^ | June 28, 2011 | Jason Palmer

Posted on 06/28/2011 7:09:39 PM PDT by decimon

The mathematical constant pi is under threat from a group of detractors who will be marking "Tau Day" on Tuesday.

Tau Day revellers suggest a constant called tau should take its place: twice as large as pi, or about 6.28 - hence the 28 June celebration.

Tau proponents say that for many problems in maths, tau makes more sense and makes calculations easier.

Not all fans of maths agree, however, and pi's rich history means it will be a difficult number to unseat.

"I like to describe myself as the world's leading anti-pi propagandist," said Michael Hartl, an educator and former theoretical physicist.

"When I say pi is wrong, it doesn't have any flaws in its definition - it is what you think it is, a ratio of circumference to diameter. But circles are not about diameters, they're about radii; circles are the set of all the points a given distance - a radius - from the centre," Dr Hartl explained to BBC News.


"What's amazing is the 'conversion experience': people find themselves almost violently angry at pi. They feel like they've been lied to their whole lives, so it's amazing how many people express their displeasure with pi in the strongest possible terms - often involving profanity.

"I don't condone any actual violence - that would be really bizarre, wouldn't it?"

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: stringtheory
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To: Kirkwood

I thought it was 1 Biden = 28 Kilodolts.

51 posted on 06/28/2011 10:57:18 PM PDT by Erasmus (I love "The Raven," but then what do I know? I'm just a poetaster.)
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To: DManA

I’m such a geek, I used to test my calculator’s capacity by making it figure out factorials. The highest it would go was 69 factorial. When I got my first computer, I would test how high it could figure them. I would type in 1000 factorial. It would begin the calculation, then a minute later pop up and say: “this calculation will take time, do you want to continue?” of course I said yes. I was so bored one day at work I figured out just how high it would go. Somewhere around 5000 IIRC. And it took a looong time. I don’t remember the result, but it was 10 to the some unimaginable power.

52 posted on 06/29/2011 12:04:51 AM PDT by boop ("Let's just say they'll be satisfied with LESS"... Ming the Merciless)
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To: decimon
Dr Hartl reckons people still use degrees as a measure of angle because pi's involvement in radians makes them too unwieldy.

Once you get used to radians, degrees are unwieldy. I'm filing this story with all those metric-vs-imperial articles. It's a bit silly and has the same flavor. Metric is for idiots who freak out when they have to divide by 12. They can't do it without making a mistake. You should never give such people calculators or the metric system. They need to drill and practice, practice, practice their arithmetic.

53 posted on 06/29/2011 1:53:14 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: decimon; Ultra Sonic 007

What say you, Ultra? You’re the Math Master here...

54 posted on 07/03/2011 9:39:30 AM PDT by ImaGraftedBranch (...By reading this, you've collapsed my wave function. Thanks.)
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To: ImaGraftedBranch; decimon

As defined, Tau = 2 * Pi

Likewise, Pi = Tau / 2

In the end, it really doesn’t make a difference in terms of calculations.

55 posted on 07/03/2011 11:04:29 AM PDT by Ultra Sonic 007 (To view the FR@Alabama ping list, click on my profile!)
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