Double Pi, What Does This Mean?

Happy \tau-day folks. What exactly is \tau? you ask. Well, \tau is a greek letter. But it also happens to represent the mathematical constant 2\pi. And why do we care about that? Well it turns out that some math-lovers think that instead of teaching students about \pi, we should focus on the number \tau. You see, while \pi is ubiquitous, it is often accompanied by the number 2. As in 2\pi. As in \tau.

Anyway, the arguments for the use of \tau are quite valid from a pedagogical perspective. I won’t get into them, as they are all explained quite nicely here. Of course, standard practice is to teach students about \pi. Is one better than the other? Perhaps. To be honest, I think the debate is entertaining in and of itself. And any conversation that gets people thinking about math makes me happy.

Given that it is \tau day, you might wonder how best to celebrate. Well, since \tau=2\pi, and \pi-day demands the consumption of pie or pie related foods (pizza pie, for example), clearly \tau-day demands, yes demands, that you consume twice as much pie as you would on \pi-day. And any day that recommends the consumption of pie can’t be bad, right?

Another note of interest: Today’s date – June 28, or 6/28 was selected for \tau-day because 2\pi\approx 6.28. Even better, 6 and 28 are the first two perfect numbers.  That means that 6/28 is actually a perfect day, which makes celebrating \tau-day even that much better!

Happy perfect \tau-day all y’all. Now go hug a nerd.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Dr. Beth says:

    I forgot to tell you that when I was running my half marathon on the weekend, there was a spectator who had a shirt that said, “I ♥ [picture of an apple] π” (Note: I couldn’t find a character that’s just a picture of an apple). Seeing this shirt made me run 3.14% faster.

    Happy Tau Day!

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