Friday, March 14, 2008

Pi-day's Food For Thought - 3/14/08

A very festive π Day to all! [Or Albert Einstein’s birthday, if you prefer.]

Today ranks among the most intellectual of all holidays: a celebration of the arcane, irrational value for the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. In order to fully appreciate the mathematical mastery of Pi, this Friday’s Food For Thought is dedicated to 3.141 and the rest ad infinitum.

As there is very little new news relating to π, our story for this week will be substituted with a crash course in Piphilology, the study of obsession over Pi. The goal of this field is to memorize as many of the infinite digits as possible, often by use of mnemonic devices. Example:

The point I said a blind Bulgarian in France would know.

Or, if you prefer, in iambic pentameter:

Now I defy a tenet gallantly
Of circle canon law: these integers
Importing circles' quotients are, we see,
Unwieldy long series of cockle burs
Put all together, get no clarity;
Mnemonics shan't describeth so reformed
Creating, with a grammercy plainly,
A sonnet liberated yet conformed.
Strangely, the queer'st rules I manipulate
Being followéd, do facilitate
Whimsical musings from geometric bard.
This poesy, unabashed as it's distressed,
Evolvéd coherent - a simple test,
Discov'ring poetry no numerals jarred.

All this being said, I will probably be satisfied for the rest of my days to approximate π to 3.141, though I have a healthy yet weirded-out respect for all of you piphilologists out there. To conclude, a pi-related video:

[And don’t forget—Beware the Ides of March tomorrow!]


Jeremy said...

That video was deliciously random. :)I loved that they were not only singing Pi, but also dancing to it.

TheChrisBerry said...

shouldn't this video actually be eternal, since the decimals of pi are infinite?

Drew said...

This video was obviously done by an armchair mathematician. A true academic would have gotten caught in the trap Chris previously suggested and made the video 20 minutes way too long with an addendum at the end suggesting Chris' comment.

An engineer would have stopped after the first decimal point, because you could make it up after that and the result for whatever you were doing would be virtually identical.

David M Manes said...

It was an exciting weekend, for sure.

Friday - Pi Day
Saturday - Ides of March
Sunday - Palm Sunday
Monday - St. Patrick's Day