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Old 09-17-2010, 07:58 AM   #1
pdurrant
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Why Tau is better than Pi

I can across an interesting idea today. Put simply, the idea is that the ratio for relating the size of a circle to its circumference has been badly chosen.

That is to say, Pi (π), the ratio of the Circumferences to the Diameter of a circle is an awkward choice.

The argument goes that using the ratio of the Circumference to the Radius instead would make many things simpler and more obvious. The proposed symbol for this is Tau (τ).

All is explained at the Tau Day website. http://www.tauday.com/

I found it very persuasive. What do others think?
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:39 AM   #2
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I didn't read the entire article in detail, it's been a few years since I've done math at those levels, but it makes sense to me and I have to agree on a few of the points. I agree that using the radius is more intuitive than the diameter, you very rarely hear someone referring to the diameter of a circle.

My problem with it though is that "pie are square(d)" rolls off the tongue much more easily than "two tau are square(d)"
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:41 AM   #3
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tau for two and two for tau,
mu for ...

sorry - couldn't resist!
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:46 AM   #4
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I'm afraid I had to respectfully decline the author's kind invitation to "consider integrals over all angles in polar coordinates", because I have no idea what he's going on about.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:45 AM   #5
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I didn't read the entire article in detail, it's been a few years since I've done math at those levels, but it makes sense to me and I have to agree on a few of the points. I agree that using the radius is more intuitive than the diameter, you very rarely hear someone referring to the diameter of a circle.

My problem with it though is that "pie are square(d)" rolls off the tongue much more easily than "two tau are square(d)"
Umm... the area of a circle is one half tau are squared. (½τr²) And the circumference is tau are. (τr)

‘Tau are’ is simpler than ‘two pi are’. Of course, we could also say ‘pi dee’ but then for consistency we ought to use ‘one quarter pi dee squared'. Ugh...

The ½τr² is also exactly analogous with lots of other equations that deal with the integration of an equation with a constant of proportionality.

The link gives the example of objects falling in a uniform gravitational field. (i.e. on Earth, to a close approximation).

The speed of dropped item is directly proportional to the time it has been falling (neglecting air resistance and changes in the gravity field).

v = gt

The distance fallen is the integral of this: d = ½gt²



I must admit that the more I consider this, the more pleased I am with it.

Although I would hold out for tau day to be celebrated on the 6th of February, not the 28th of June!

And celebrations ought, of course, to reach a climax at exactly 53 seconds past 3:33 pm (or am if you're on night shifts). Because, of course, the ratio 333/53 approximates tau to three decimal places.

Alternatively we could have an ‘approximate tau lunch’ on 7th October, at 1:13 pm, since 710/133 is tau to six decimal places.
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:31 AM   #6
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:58 AM   #7
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Although I would hold out for tau day to be celebrated on the 6th of February, not the 28th of June!

And celebrations ought, of course, to reach a climax at exactly 53 seconds past 3:33 pm (or am if you're on night shifts). Because, of course, the ratio 333/53 approximates tau to three decimal places.
On second thoughts, perhaps celebrations ought to include something special in the 22 minutes between 8:31 and 8:53, seeing as τ is 6.2 831 853....
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:17 PM   #8
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I disagree most vehemently with the concept of Tau day. First, I am too old to learn new math. Second, Pi makes sense to the elders. Consider a hat maker or brassiere seamstress. How do they set the diameter of a hat or bra? They take a tape measure and wrap it around the object of interest. With a single factor (1/Pi), they take that circumference and turn it into a diameter. Of course, I am so learned that I can just look at/feel a breast and tell you the correct cup size. (It is a complex process, involving volumetric estimation, and my sensitive hand). Lastly, why give up another Greek letter for a constant that is already been spoken for? I want to reserve Tau for a constant of nature that I may discover, such as the perfect shape of a breast (in 3D), or the dimension of the universe.
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:52 PM   #9
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Fat Abe makes a very persuasive argument...
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:04 PM   #10
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An entertaining article! Given that there is a simple conversion between pi & tau, one can just use whichever is most convenient for the purpose in hand. I like the more sensible radian measures of fractions of a circle and the pleasing conformity with other integration equations - I shall have to try running a few calculations in parallel and see how the tau versions 'feel'.
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:16 AM   #11
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What the f***, I haven't got used to decimal currency yet, and you want to start messing with pi. No way.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:37 PM   #12
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e is the best.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:38 PM   #13
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tau for two and two for tau,
mu for ...

sorry - couldn't resist!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:45 AM   #14
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ask me taumorrow
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:15 AM   #15
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e is the best.
e[SUP][/SUP] = 1

Oh — no superscript BB code
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