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Pi day: Celebrate pi by eating pies

作者：诸甜 时间：2019-03-07 10:13:00 人气： ℃

(Image: Delft University of Technology, applied physics, seismics and acoustics) By Jacob Aron Find out more about pi in our Pi day special, including fabulous pi facts, Alice’s adventures in algebra, and more mathemagical trickery Pi day has rolled around once more: the day when mathematics fans everywhere – particularly in the US, where the date is written 3.14 – celebrate everyone’s favourite mathematical constant. If you are wondering about the best time of day to celebrate, unfortunately you have already missed it. The first few digits, 3.14159, translates this year into March 14 at 1:59 am. It will be at a more sociable hour in four years’ time, when the festivities should kick off on 3.14.15 at 9:26:53. Don’t let the niceties of timing put you off, though. Princeton University has already celebrated with an extended weekend of events, culminating in a celebration of Pi day itself. The four-day event included pi recitations, pie eating contests, and pi shopping deals for $3.14 or $31.40. Today is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, leading to the inevitable creation of the Einstein Pie. But don’t worry if you can’t make it to a pi party in person. You can still dial in. Pi fan Christopher Poole has set up a pi phone – call the US telephone number 253 243-2504 to hear the digits read out. Don’t listen for too long, though: since pi goes on forever, who knows how much it could add to your phone bill. If that sounds a bit dry, you might prefer Michael John Blake’s transformation of pi’s digits into music (see video above). And while you are on a musical tip, you might enjoy entertainer David C. Perry’s tribute Talking Pi, which features “the most unsingable chorus ever”. Too jocular? Perhaps you would prefer a more cerebral challenge. The Pi day challenge, now in its fourth consecutive year, offers 30 logical puzzles to put your pi knowledge to the test. Last year, nearly 100,000 participants from 120 countries solved more than 150,000 puzzles; maybe this year you will be among them. Did we say that pi was everyone’s favourite constant? Not quite. Even constants have enemies. Earlier this year physicist Michael Hartl told New Scientist that pi’s iron grip on our affections is blinding us to the fact that it’s not the most natural choice of “circle constant”. Hartl says we would be better off using tau (equal to two pi), which allows geometric relationships to be stated more elegantly and comprehensibly. But Hartl’s no party pooper: you can simply celebrate Half Tau day instead. Find out more about pi in our Pi day special , including fabulous pi facts, Alice’s adventures in algebra,