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« The voice of God? | Main | Church, change, and challenge »
Wednesday
Mar142012

Happy Pi Day ...

It's generally overshadowed by St. Patrick's Day, but folks who are more geeky than green celebrate Pi Day on March 14 of every year ... it's 3.14, you know. 

I never considered myself much of a mathlete, though math was one of my strong points in high school, where I took every course offered. I was good with a slide rule and won the senior math award -- but our highest level course was "Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry," and none of my teachers ever mentioned anything so basic to calculus as a function: f(x)=2x would have been a mystery to me. 

My grades, however, landed me in a calculus course when I got to college. I struggled more there, but derivatives made sense, and I did OK until we got to imaginary numbers. I couldn't imagine them. I just couldn't.

But pi I could understand. Even though it's not a rational number, I could visualize the ratio between a circle's circumference and its diameter. I could memorize pi's value to eight or ten decimal places. I could work with it.

Pi is sometimes referrred to as a "mathmatical constant," and something about me likes that. In a world marked by change and uncertainty, pi is as dependable as the love of God, and perhaps a fitting reminder. 

Happy Pi Day, everybody. 

Reader Comments (2)

What's a slide rule?

Mar 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Cannon

Not sure if you're serious, but in case you are, a slide rule is sort of an analog computer on a stick, something we used before calculators came along. You can do amazingly accurate multiplication, division, trig functions, square and cube roots, logarithms -- with no batteries required. There's a nice article on slide rules on Wikipedia, and here's a website devoted to them.: http://www.sphere.bc.ca/test/sruniverse.html.

Mar 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony Cartledge

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