Here’s why some people aren’t happy about Pi Day
It’s all got to do with another circle constant called tau.
Every year mathematicians and pie-lovers come together to celebrate Pi Day and make terrible maths jokes.
Because the Americans write their dates in the month/day format, March 14 is written as 3/14, which are the first three digits of pi (3.14).
But not everyone is on board with this special day.
In fact some people prefer tau (t) – another circle constant representing the ratio between the circumference and radius of a circle. It equals 2 times pi, which is approximately 6.28.
On this Pi day I would like to say I am team Tau— Nafaa of Oman (@NsK94) March 14, 2018
I am not mathematician but I read paper describing why Tau seems more logical choice that Pi . It kind of really appealed my logical mind.— Paritosh Kulkarni (@PixelClearr) March 14, 2018
Pi day stealing all the glory from Tau day is the textbook example of mathematical appropriation.— Paul Phillips 💙 (@contrarivariant) March 14, 2018
Don't listen to #FakeNewsMedia. It may be pi day, but we should be celebrating tau!— The car's on fire, there's no driver at the wheel. (@theconnerofmen) March 14, 2018
Some mathematicians argue that tau makes life simpler because in a circle, pi represents the ratio between circumference and diameter, which can make calculations a little confusing. This is because most mathematical calculations use the radius (half the diameter) to describe circles.
Take for example, a pizza that’s been divided into eight pie-shaped slices. The angle at the tip of the sliced pizza would be pi/4 and not pi/8. Using tau makes this much simpler because the pizza angle now is simply t/8.
For pi day, here’s a fun fact. Pi has a relative called Tau that’s double what pi is. It comes from deriving the circumference of a circle relative to radius 1 instead of diameter 1, and it makes some formulas and the unit circle look a lot cleaner. pic.twitter.com/kTwnmtt7FU— Secant (@Secant_Splat) March 14, 2018
Mathematicians say it also makes trigonometry (the study of the angles and lines found in shapes such as triangles) calculations easier.
Tau gained a lot of attention in 2010 when author and educator Michael Hartl posted The Tau Manifesto.
Which is why some people are keen to celebrate Tau Day, which is on June 28 (6/28 – geddit?).
Screw Pi day, i'm ready for Tau day june 28th— Nathanael Turner (@natenak) March 14, 2018
I'm waiting until June 28th to celebrate tau day. That way I get twice as much pi.— Donald McAfee (@donz2016) March 14, 2018
Remind me on June 28 to celebrate Tau Day, an irrational number twice the value and much much cooler than Pi.— Kevin Wardhana (@Kevin_Siraj) March 14, 2018
But tau or no tau, the world will always have some hardcore pi fans.
I'll never totally give up on Pi Day, I'm enough of a math nerd that I've pretty naturally remembered pi to 3.14159265358979323 since 7th grade. I do enjoy the Tau Day curmudgeons though— Eric Calhoun (@emc2birds1stone) March 14, 2018
Maybe a scrummy dish named after tau might sway things in its favour.