Pi Day Rebuttal: Let Them Eat Cake!
FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: I am not here to impugn the idea behind popularizing mathematical concepts through any means possible. Nor am I here to suggest the concept of Pi itself is not worth study and exaltation. Certainly I am not here to cast aspersions upon the glorious existence of pie. As the full moon loves the night sky, as the grizzled mariner loves the sea, as Garfield loves lasagna, so I too love pie.
HOWEVER, The voice of dissent among the choir of rejoicing every Pi day deserves to be heard. Even the circle constant is not above reproach and, indeed, the uniqueness of this seemingly unending parade of digits should be open to discussion.
Enter Vi Hart. Mathemusician, doodler, stealer of my intellectual heart.
And here she introduces us to the Tau movement, another way to view the circle constant. To reduce it as far as possible, the traditional definition of Pi is that the constant is equal to the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Tau, on the other hand, suggests we should be more focused on the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's RADIUS. Here, let Vi explain it:
To be fair, either process will get you where you are going and there are many reasons to continue putting Pi on a pedestal, as is pointed out by The Pi Manifesto. But even the controversy is fascinating. Mathematics is not necessarily a static field, full of dusty facts from time immemorial. It's the foundation upon which the edifice of science rests; The phonemes of the letters that we use to write the story of the universe. As I've said before, I sometimes get overwhelmed when the numbers start flying. But thanks to Pi, pie, and a woman named Vi, I'm learning how interesting the world of math truly is.