Posts Tagged ‘Pi’

Mathematical Graffiti

June 1, 2014 1 comment

Pi appears in the strangest of places. It is, of course, the ratio of circumference to diameter for all circles. It is also half the period of the sine cure and cosine curve, and hence a sinusoidal wave. It’s in the period of a pendulum, heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, cosmology, Fluid Dynamics and many other maths/physics formulae. It crops up in nature in the double helix, it’s even the mean meandering ratio. (The ratio of a rivers actual length, to the straight line distance from source to end.)

This, however, seems to be ridiculous:


I spotted this piece of graffiti on a toilet door at a wedding, and before you ask no I didn’t put it there.

I did wonder if it could be an accident, could some of the paint have peeled off and just happened to form this Shape? Perhaps, but there was hardly any other paint missing and the shape was so perfect I decided it had to be deliberate.

So, is there a rogue mathematician tagging the toilets of Yorkshire with his favourite constants, or was it a Greek person who was caught in the act after just 1 letter?

Have you encountered, or committed any mathematical graffiti? I’d love to hear about it,and see it if you have!

Categories: #MTBoS, Maths, Strange Tags: , ,

Pi, and Mary Poppins

January 3, 2014 4 comments

Yesterday we were watching Mary Poppins and we noticed something we hadn’t noticed before. The most surprising thing is probably that is was my partner, not I, that noticed it. What she noticed can be seen here:


“Why have they got pi on that kite?” she asked.

I’ve been thinking about that question. My first thought was that it may be completely random, although I dismissed that idea fairly quickly. This is a big budget Disney movie, it’s highly unlikely that anything in it is there randomly or by accident. So why is it there? What does it signify?

My next thought was that Mr Banks is acting a little irrationally at that point in the film, and Pi is the most famous of all irrational numbers, perhaps the film makers put it there for this reason? (I did Google this, and not much came up but it does seem this idea had been had before)

Perhaps the film makers just love maths, and wanted to include the picture symbol as a nod to that? Perhaps there was some significance to Pi’s infinite nature?

Do you know the answer? Have you spotted Pi, or any other maths links in other Disney films? In any films for that matter? I’d love to know if you have!

Abaci, Pi and Mathematical Ink

April 12, 2013 5 comments

There are a few things that have been at the forefront of my mind recently, and I thought I would write a post about them here and see if anyone can add anything.

The first is the question of Abacuses (or Abaci? I don’t know the correct pluralisation). Having a 9 month old daughter has meant that invariably I have spent rather a lot of time in toy shops/mothercare/the early learning centre etc since she was born. During one such visit recently I spied an abacus. I think they are fantastic instruments. Although I don’t know too much about them. I figured that, as we live in a base ten world, each wire should have nine beads on it. That was 1-9 would be on wire a then ten would be the first one on wire b. However, all the Abaci I have been able to find have ten beads on each wire. Have I misunderstood the use? (Having read up a little it would seem the Romans used them in line with their numeral system, so currently a 9 bead approach would be the natural successor.) I suspect the ten bead per wire has been introduced at somepoint by someone who didn’t realise why there was only 9. If this (9 per wire) isn’t how they were meant to be, then someone’s missed a trick. I want one (9 per wire) for my daughter, and one for school, as I think it could be a really useful tool for teaching place value!

The next thing that has been on my mind recently is Pi. (Not pie!) this has been prompted by a friend of mine called Steve who is planning to get Pi to 39 digits (so 38 dp) tattooed on his arm. (If you aren’t aware of the significance of 38 dp, this video explains it well ). He asked me whether I thought he should round to 38 dp or put it as is and dot dot dot, my answer was simple: “we’re mathematicians, not physicists nor engineers, don’t round!” he found it a persuasive argument!

This conversation led to me wondering out loud, how many dp do calculators hold Pi to? I assumed it is more than the display, but how much more? This prompted a few trials: His Casio silver holds it to 12dp, His Phone (can’t remember the model) to 8 dp, my phone (Iphone4) to 16dp. Calculators we had at school: Sharp 13dp and texet 11dp. I’d be interested to hear if your phone/calculator hold it any further!

We discussed maths tattoos for a while, he knew someone with e^ipi + 1 = 0. We agreed phi = 1 + root 5 all over two would be cool. Graham’s number would be cool. A colleague of mine has a Casio calculator circuit board tattooed on him, which is awesome. Navier-stokes, Euler’s Formula, de Moivre’s theorem were all suggested as possibles maths tattoos! Have you got any? If so I’d love to hear about them, or even just ideas of them would be cool.

%d bloggers like this: