Civilization Fanatics' Forums Pi is wrong!

 View Poll Results: Are you in favor of replacing Pi with Tau? Yes, that would make much more sense. 9 32.14% Whatever, the last time I had to use Pi was in school. 3 10.71% Die heretic! There is only one true circle constant and it is Pi. 8 28.57% YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE MY PIE AWAY!!! 8 28.57% Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

Jun 28, 2011, 02:41 PM   #1
uppi
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Pi is wrong!

Pi is wrong...according to the proponents of Tau Day. And no, its not about legislating Pi to be three in accordance with the Bible, but a quite sensible proposal:

Quote:
 The Tau Manifesto is dedicated to the proposition that the proper response to “π is wrong” is “No, really.” And the true circle constant deserves a proper name. As you may have guessed by now, The Tau Manifesto proposes that this name should be the Greek letter τ (tau): τ≡ C/r =6.283185307179586… Throughout the rest of this manifesto, we will see that the number τ is the correct choice, and we will show through usage (Section 2 and Section 3) and by direct argumentation (Section 4) that the letter τ is a natural choice as well.
They argue, that Pi is the wrong choice for the circle constant and that the true circle constant should be what is currently known as 2π. After all, the fact that people have to use 2π all over the place (in sine and cosine functions, in Fourier transforms, in Gaussian distributions, in polar coordinates, ...) is a sign, that Pi might be a poor choice as a constant.

But because redefining conventions usually leads to a mess (I am looking at you, electric charge constant!), they propose to introduce a new constant τ, which equals exactly 2π. So a full circle would be τ radians, a half circle τ/2, a quarter circle τ/4 and so on.

And I really like this proposal, because implementing it would save me from having to use 2π over and over and over, especially when having to convert between frequencies and angular frequencies (which I have to do all the time).

And why this thread today? In the strange American way to write dates, today is 6/28, which matches the first three digits of τ, so today is Tau Day.

So what do you think of this proposal?

Last edited by uppi; Jun 28, 2011 at 02:57 PM.

 Jun 28, 2011, 02:51 PM #2 Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus     Join Date: Feb 2002 Location: Baja Arizona Posts: 4,163 Tau is pretty heavily used as it is in science. Not in favor of the proposal. __________________ I think Man is the most interesting form of insect life on Earth. Don't you? -- M.T. Martian
Jun 28, 2011, 03:02 PM   #3
uppi
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Serutan Tau is pretty heavily used as it is in science. Not in favor of the proposal.
In most cases, Tau is used as a replacement for t if there are more than one t in the equation. It would not be that hard to use another letter in these cases (and most letters have multiple meanings in physics anyway, even Pi).

 Jun 28, 2011, 03:23 PM #4 Earthling Deity     Join Date: Nov 2008 Posts: 8,475 I actually hate, hate, hate using tau like that as a dummy variable in integration, gets frustrating the way the symbols look, so that's a strong reason I'd support this proposal. However it would likely be rather problematic for people to adjust to and you'd still find situations with non-integer fractions or even powers and roots of pi and tau anyway. And we'd still have uppity mathematicians doing Fourier transforms backwards (calling the inverse the regular one and vice versa) and the like. On the fence here really. __________________ "I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy."
 Jun 28, 2011, 05:10 PM #5 hoplitejoe The end is coming     Join Date: Mar 2010 Posts: 4,705 Think of all the pi jokes that can be made, now try and think of a Tau one. I think we have our answer __________________ No one would have believed, in the first years of the twenty first century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless nation of Greece. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life in Greece and yet, across the gulf of Europe, a mind immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, he drew his plans against us.
 Jun 28, 2011, 05:15 PM #6 EnglishCrusader AYEEEEE     Join Date: Jun 2011 Location: England Posts: 1,034 I know someone who would disagree with this: __________________ Economic Left/Right: -1.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 4.72 "I hate it when people quote themselves in their own sig" - Me "My life is not my own responsibility!" - CivGeneral Come and #fiftychat!
 Jun 28, 2011, 05:36 PM #7 LucyDuke staring at the clock     Join Date: Jan 2007 Location: where mise Posts: 13,313 Is 2π really such a burden? __________________ this week in #fiftychat: sometimes mise
 Jun 28, 2011, 05:55 PM #8 Earthling Deity     Join Date: Nov 2008 Posts: 8,475 To put things in perspective, it's much less of a big deal than, say, the cgs mess with universal constants. It is really ubiquitous though and kinda silly to have the 2π everywhere, which it really is, so replacing it with tau gets rid of an unecessary factor, and there may be some hypothetical benefit to teaching younger students that would help them learn geometry and trig, but there's also the disadvantages to changing everything up. __________________ "I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy."
Jun 28, 2011, 06:12 PM   #9
deanej
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by LucyDuke Is 2π really such a burden?
Mathematicians (and derivative disciplines such as physics and computer science) are inherently "lazy". Hence other peculiarities, such as the existence of natural log (otherwise known as log base e).

Jun 28, 2011, 07:14 PM   #10
uppi
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by LucyDuke Is 2π really such a burden?
It is not so much a burden as an annoyance.

For example it is common in my field to give frequencies as Ω / 2π = ... MHz to avoid confusion with angular frequencies. However this is slightly ambiguous as the strict mathematical reading would be (Ω / 2) * π, which is not what is intended. One could avoid this by adding parentheses and write Ω / (2π), but this makes the expression even more unwieldy. Writing Ω / τ would save characters and eliminate this ambiguity.

Jun 28, 2011, 08:16 PM   #11
Defiant47
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by uppi It is not so much a burden as an annoyance. For example it is common in my field to give frequencies as Ω / 2π = ... MHz to avoid confusion with angular frequencies. However this is slightly ambiguous as the strict mathematical reading would be (Ω / 2) * π, which is not what is intended. One could avoid this by adding parentheses and write Ω / (2π), but this makes the expression even more unwieldy. Writing Ω / τ would save characters and eliminate this ambiguity.
I'm sorry, but 48/2(9+3) = 2. Always.

 Jun 28, 2011, 11:03 PM #12 madviking underage drinking abettor     Join Date: May 2005 Location: Charlottesville, VA Posts: 9,539 Images: 3 I think teaching-wise, tau is better than pi. Something about a circle being tau radians is more intuitive than a circle being two pi radians. Added bonus - no more stupid math assignments on March 14th! June 28th is summer vacation! __________________ Life's hard, life's easy, life's everything in between Life's peachy like James and the giant Join #fiftychat | 2013 NCAA College Football Pick'em Champion | OWNES I - Providence Blues | RIP Z.B. -- 10/11/92 - 4/18/12 #madviking4hops13
 Jun 28, 2011, 11:58 PM #13 Perfection The Great Head.     Join Date: Apr 2002 Location: Salisbury Plain Posts: 46,435 Images: 30 but pi r squared! __________________ MORTALS: KNEEL BEFORE THE HEAD! Bask in its awesome might and wisdom. ~ Make your area in MountCFC - My Sim City 2000 Cities! - Don't like me? Ignore me! - Watch me KO creationism DO YOU LIKE FUN? JOIN FIFTYCHAT - The origin of Giant Death Robots
 Jun 29, 2011, 12:31 AM #14 ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator     Join Date: Apr 2007 Location: Liverpool, home of Everton FC Posts: 21,816 It's not as bad as the gamma function, gamma(n) = (n-1)! What's all that about? __________________ Most people think... Great God will come from the skies... Take away everything... And make everybody feel high (Bob Marley) Join the CFC Scrabble group! Discouraged in the gob
Jun 29, 2011, 08:11 AM   #15
classical_hero
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by uppi Pi is wrong...according to the proponents of Tau Day. And no, its not about legislating Pi to be three in accordance with the Bible, but a quite sensible proposal:
The bible does not say that Pi=3. http://www.purplemath.com/modules/bibleval.htm
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Jun 29, 2011, 09:42 AM   #16
contre
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by classical_hero The bible does not say that Pi=3. http://www.purplemath.com/modules/bibleval.htm
I knew when I saw you were last respondent in this thread, this would be what you were posting about.

Getting around the fact you're making assumptions about things not written into the Bible (if I have to pidgin hole an answer in, I'd pick the measurements used on that page as well!), are you claiming that the Bible, the inerrant word of God, says Pi = 3.1395348837...?
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Jun 29, 2011, 10:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Perfection but pi r squared!
Having .5 * tau * r^2 puts it in line with the scores of other half-square formulas (e.g. energy stored in a spring, energy stored in a capacitor, etc.)
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Jun 29, 2011, 10:13 AM   #18
warpus
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by LucyDuke Is 2π really such a burden?
Having taken way too much math at university I gotta admit tau would have made calculations and formulas simpler.. but only a bit.

It's not really a huge deal.

 Jun 29, 2011, 01:57 PM #19 mdwh Deity   Join Date: May 2005 Posts: 3,565 I'd come across the issue before - I think they make a good point, and it probably would have been a more natural choice of a constant. OTOH, I think making the change is more trouble than it's worth, and part of me feels that anyone insisting on using tau is in the same category as someone you meet talking about his "Mibibytes". It's also not clear to me it's always better - obvious example being the area of a circle (and I'm not persuaded by section 3, yes some physical equations have a half in them, others don't, e.g. e=mc^2). __________________ Conquests - open source Civ-like game for Windows/Linux PCs. Gigalomania - open source Mega Lo Mania-like game for PCs, tablets and smartphones. Remote Control for Android and Nokia Symbian smartphones/tablets
Jun 29, 2011, 02:03 PM   #20
Mise
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by uppi It is not so much a burden as an annoyance. For example it is common in my field to give frequencies as Ω / 2π = ... MHz to avoid confusion with angular frequencies. However this is slightly ambiguous as the strict mathematical reading would be (Ω / 2) * π, which is not what is intended. One could avoid this by adding parentheses and write Ω / (2π), but this makes the expression even more unwieldy. Writing Ω / τ would save characters and eliminate this ambiguity.
TBH, it would be easier to just make "" a symbol in its own right. I mean, I know when I see "", I just treat it as a single character in my head. Join up the "2" and the "π" and call it a new symbol pronouced "two-pi". Not every constant needs a Greek or Latin letter -- we can make our own!!
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