A Life of Pi
I fell asleep on the couch last night while watching Modern Family. At 3:14 a.m., I woke up, left the couch, and stumbled to bed.
Several hours later, my son Eli came into our room and woke me. That was at 6:28 a.m. My wife agreed to take the morning shift, so I fell back asleep.
When I woke again, it was 9:42 a.m.
Then, at 12:56 p.m., I received an email from my friend Pat Flynn, and I was cheered by the silliness of the subject line: “My new favorite quadratic formula song.” I smiled thinking about the possibility that anyone would have a favorites list containing more than one song about the quadratic formula.
This was a rather uneventful sequence… except that the times were π, 2π, 3π, and 4π. Sort of. To two decimal places, 4π = 12.57, not 12.56. So my theory that my life is ruled by π was discredited.
All was not lost, however. The link in Pat Flynn’s email made me smile. It featured two teachers singing a song about the quadratic formula to the tune of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. The lyrics are decent, and the teachers are pretty good vocalists. Here, give it a listen yourself…
And here are a few quotes about π you might enjoy.
If equations are trains threading the landscape of numbers, then no train stops at π. – Richard Preston
The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to π as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of π change. – FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers
So here we have π2, which an engineer would call 10. – Frank King