Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In celebration of Pi Day (which ironically enough falls on Einstein's birthday), I figured I'd tell you my top 10 reasons for being obsessed with the number pi. If you were hoping I didn't know it was Pi Day today, then think again friends, think again, because it's time for Captain Jimmy's Top 10 Reasons for Being Obsessed with Π!
  • In one of my favorite movie trilogies, the Matrix, Neo has exactly 314 seconds to reach the "source" of the Matrix in The Matrix: Reloaded. Coinkie dink? I don't think so.
  • Π is a Greek letter and what is not to like about the Greek? They love food, so do I. They love to party, so do I. The ancients loved mathematics, what do you know, so do I!
  • I remember this little rhyme from my Calculus class in high school. Cosine, secant, tangent, sine, three point one four one five nine!
  • You really can't get any more random than the number π. In fact if you ask me, π is the epitome of randomness as all the numbers from 0 to 9 each appear eerily close to 600,000 times within the first 6 million digits of π.
  • I knew a guy in high school that could calculate any equation you threw at him instantly in his mind. He'd approximate π with the square root of 10 in his mental calculations. He also always wore sandals and denim shorts every day to school, even in the snow. And he made up his own language of grunts and odd sounds. This doesn't really make me obsessed with π, I just find it funny.
  • Π is an irrational number (and not in the same sense that women are irrational). The fact that π is infinite just boggles my mind. You can't comprehend forever or even half of forever! For a number to just go on and on without repeating is nothing short of spectacular! I'd say the same for e or the square root of 2, but the only downside is those aren't Greek letters.
  • Π is also a transcendental number. This generally means that you can't use an algebraic equation to obtain a root value of π. This also means that someday π will be just as confusing as my 10th grade English class.
  • Ever hear of the Buffon's Needle problem? Consider this. We have a floor with parallel lines evenly spaced, drawn on it. Because we're insane, we drop an infinite number of needles of known, consistent length on the floor. Provided that the space between the parallel lines is greater than the length of the needle, the probability of having the needle lie across one of the lines after we drop it is, you guessed it, π!
  • While you can't eat π, you can certainly eat pie, and as you are now well aware, pie is one of my favorite desserts!
  • Π is always π. Even if it isn't called π, the ratio of a circle's circumference to twice it's radius is always, now and forever the same number, 3.14159 blah blah blah. I don't care if you're measuring in inches, miles, kilometers, furlongs, parsecs or what-have-you. Unless your circle exists in warped space-time or a non-euclidean space, this will always hold true no matter what age, planet, galaxy, universe or state of mind!

1 comment:

UB said...

Ah, Captain Jimmy, you have done it again! And to post it at 1:59. Marvelous! I will be in a lecture by a psychiatrist this afternoon starting at 1:00. It will be tempting, at 1:59, to stand up and wish everyone a happy Pi day. Psychiatrists are goofy. He will appreciate it.