Tag Archives: Pi

Science Quickies: Mega-Greenhouse, New Cousins, Musical Pi, Super Flu Findings

22 Mar

I’ve been meaning to post these for days now, but life was busy, and I am tired of having dozens of tabs open at once.

NPR talks about a new shift in gender roles as more and more women are out-earning their male counterparts and companions.

A musical interpretation of Pi which is pretty awesome.

An article from late last year detailing how there is evidence of a great lake on Europa, and the possibilities of life there.

Human fossils were found in China that are unlike any others seen. Say hi to a new species, our long lost cousin! The skull was unearthed in 1979, but hasn’t been fully analyzed until now, because sometimes science is annoyingly slow. They have been dubbed the Red Deer Cave People.

You may have heard about the controversy surrounding the debate on whether or not scientists should fully release their findings regarding a mutated “super virus,” created from the bird flu virus. If not, this brief sound bite sums it up nicely.

In environmental and energy news, a vertical greenhouse could make the Swedish city of Linköping self-sufficient. It’s set to open late next year, and hopefully will be a model for other cities.

Doctors Without Borders have released a brief clip explaining how they are tracking sleeping sickness across Africa.


Happy Pi Day!

14 Mar

❤ ❤ ❤

Today is March 14, aka 3/14, the official Pi Day!
Tis the most delicious of days!

It should be noted that today is not to be confused with Pi Approximation Day, which is July 22nd. (The fraction 22/7 is common approximation for Pi.)
Yeah, we take our holidays pretty seriously.
There is even a website dedicated to this day, so you know it is totally legit.
If you are at a loss of how to join in on the festivities, check out these helpful tips and learn how to properly celebrate the most mathematical of holidays ^_^

So, some fun facts about Pi:
* As this poster demonstrates, Pi is clearly the most romantic of numbers.

* The value of Pi has been, at last report, calculated out to the 5 trillionth decimal place, completed by Japanese system engineer Shigeru Kondo. Using his desktop computer and 20 external hard drives, it took him 90 days, and 64 hours to verify, with an estimated cost of $18,000.

*Musician Kate Bush actually sang a song about Pi, which can be found on her Aerial album. It’s quite soothing.

* π is an irrational number.  Its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction having integers in both the numerator and denominator, which is why the fraction 22/7 is deemed an “approximation”. 22/7 actually equals 3.14285714, whereas the first nine digits of pi are 3.14159265.

*  The decimal representation of pi never ends and never repeats. Pi is also a transcendental number, which implies that no finite sequence of numbers can render its value. Proving this fact was a significant mathematical achievement of the 19th century. (Thank you Wikipedia)

* Two common equations that use pi are the formula to find the area of a circle (A = πr^2) and the volume of a cylinder (V=πr^2h)

* Pi was first calculated by Archimedes of Syracuse, who really, really, really loved circles. So much so that when the Roman soldiers conquered the city of Syracuse, he was reportedly so engrossed in his work and simply failed to noticed the current invasion. When a Roman soldier approached Archimedes, he yelled “Do not touch my circles!” (The Roman soldier quickly cut off his head and moved on.)

* Many mathematicians claim that it is more correct to say that a circle has an infinite number of corners than to view a circle as cornerless. Stop and think about that for a second.

* At the 762nd decimal place of pi, there is a sequences of six 9s (an example of a repdigit). This is known as the Feynman point, named after the notoriously humorous physist Richard Feynman, who once claimed he would like to memorize pi up until that point so he could say “nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, nine and so on,” jokingly indicating that pi is a rational number.
Mathematicians have all the best jokes.

Oh, Feynman ❤

You may be sitting there thinking, “Holy crapsocks, this is the best day ever!!! How could today get any better?!”
But wait, there’s more!!!
Not only is today the most mathematically exciting day of the year, its also the birthday of freakin’ ALBERT ENSTEIN!!!!!
That’s right, 133 years ago, the famed physicist himself was gifted upon humanity.

Ladies, contain yourselves.

So, at 1:59 pm today, grab your favorite slice of pi, make your best Einstein face, and join the world in celebrating Pi Day!