Forget Pi, Here Comes Tau

Using a new constant would simplify things, say experts
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2011 12:07 PM CDT
Updated Jul 2, 2011 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – You don't need to be a mathematician to appreciate pi: Children everywhere can tell you it's 3.14, and it's even celebrated on 3-14. But now experts are arguing that pi, which references the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, be replaced with a new constant known as tau, the Daily Mail reports. Not because pi is wrong, per se—its value is still correct—but because it is the wrong figure to associate with a circle's properties.

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"Pi simply isn’t the most natural number that we should associate with a circle. The proper number is 2pi, or tau," which is approximately 6.28, says one mathematician. The number 2pi is an important part of many formulas and equations, meaning that using tau as the main circle constant would simplify things and could even make subjects like calculus easier to understand. Mathematicians are campaigning for textbooks to be changed and, of course, for tau to get its very own holiday: 6-28. (Read more pi stories.)

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