Thursday, 14 April 2011

Circling The Square

While looking at some facts about pi, there was one in particular that really engaged me. It is not a fact about pi as such, but more a statement about the nature of pi...

"Most people would say that a circle has no corners, but it is more accurate to say that it has an infinite number of corners."

I like this fact because it forces us to examine the nature of a circle. If a circle has corners, then surely, it must be related to the square in a fundamental way. The circle is proof that mere appearances can be deceptive. In a mathematical sense, a square and circle are not two entirely different shapes as such. Those severe bends that we see forming the four corners of a square, can surprisingly, be found to also exist in those soft curves which form a circle. The best way to get from a square to a circle is by increasing its number of corners.

~~Image: Red Square Painting (2009 Digital Remix) by Nigel Tomm

A square has its four sides and its four corners, and if we add another side to it, to create a five-sided polygon, then it also generates another corner. If everytime we keep adding more sides, and everytime we make all the sides the same length - then we can go on to form a fantastic array of regular polygons.

If we keep on increasing the polygon's number of sides, and keep on increasing them, then theoretically, the sides of the polygon will eventually reach numbers which are infinite. It shall produce a polygon with an infinite number of sides - and for all intents and purposes - a shape that looks convincingly like a circle. It is by creating polygons that the early pioneers of geometry, such as Archimedes, were able to gain more and more accurate approximations of pi. The following extract below comes from this site, which also offers some excellent working demos of how pi can be approximated - one by unravelling circles, and another by inscribing polygons:

"π is an irrational number, which means that we can never write the value of it completely accurately. So how do we calculate it? After all, it is difficult to measure round the edge of a circle. You could get an approximation by winding a piece of string round a tin, then measuring the string and across the tin, but this will not be very accurate. Another way is to fit a polygon (like a square or a hexagon) to the circle, either inside or outside. We can calculate the edge of a polygon. As we increase the number of sides in the polygon, it fits the circle better and better, so its edge becomes closer and closer to the circumference of the circle. What is more, the outer polygon will have a longer edge than the circle, and the inner one will be less. So we can get two approximations for for each polygon, one too big and one too small."

As you increase the number of sides of a polygon, you increase the sum of the interior angles of the polygon. Each time we increase the number of sides by one, the sum of the angles increase by 180 degrees. For example, a square (quadrilateral) has the interior sum of 360 degrees, while a five-sided polygon (pentagon) has a sum of 540 degrees. Going further, we see that the sum of the interior angles of a ten-sided polygon (decagon) are 1440 degrees. The sum of the interior angles of a polygon are calculated by inscribing triangles (triangulating). If we know that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle are ALWAYS 180 degrees, and we can count the number of triangles being used to form the shape of the polygon - then we have the perfect formula for calculating the sum of the polygon's interior angles (n being the polygon's number of sides):

(n-2) × 180° = sum of interior angles

Basically, everytime we add a side to a polygon, we generate a new triangle inside the polygon, and increase the sum of the interior angles by 180 degrees. A square, for example, can be made up by two triangles (hence 2 × 180° = 360°), while a pentagon can be made up by three triangles (3 × 180° = 540°).

~~Image: There are two triangles in a square.

~~Image: A pentagon has five sides, and can be made from three triangles.

If a circle can be described as a polygon with an infinite number of small sides, then we must assume that the sum of the interior angles of such a circle will too approach figures somewhere in the infinite. If we were to try and triangulate such a polygon to try and reach the sum of the interior angles, we would have to deduct two from the number of sides to give us the number of triangles. This means we would be left trying to tackle the rather troublesome sum of infinity minus 2 (n-2) to achieve the answer.

Trying to add or subtract to infinity is always a little awkward. After all, infinity is considered to be a concept rather than a number - you can't just go around ripping bits off it, or for that matter, slapping things on it. In order to deduct 2 from infinity to get a number, it means that we would have to ask infinity to be a little less infinite, and be a bit more finite, which is probably asking the impossible. Or is it?

Assuming that the sum of the interior angles will reach amounts which end somewhere in the infinite, it remains that the sum of the exterior angles of a such a polygon, a polygon with an infinite number of sides, if measured, will still be found to equal 360 degrees. This is because the sum of the exterior angles of any convex polygon will ALWAYS add upto 360 degrees. Essentially, all the exterior angles amount to one full revolution (360°). In other words, adding all the exterior angles together is the mathematical equivalent of taking the shape and rotating it one complete turn.

~~Image: In this diagram the exterior angles have been given different colours. You can see how they can be put together to make a full circle.

If we add up the interior angle and the exterior angle of a regular polygon, we get a straight line - 180 degrees. The interior and exterior angles are distinctly related. We can increase the polygon's number of sides to figures which are infinite, and with it, we will also see an increase in the sum of the interior angles. In theory, the number of degrees should become infinite - infinitely big. However, each interior angle cannot be seen to be equal to, or exceed, the boundary of 180 degrees, otherwise we will encroach upon the space of the exterior angle.

~~Image: Internal angle + external angle = 180°

Increasing the number of sides will see the sum of the interior angles grow,and grow, but this growth is wholly reliant on each exterior angle, the one at each vertex, becoming smaller, and smaller - infinitely smaller. In other words, the growth of the sum of the interior angles is severely restricted. The infinite sum of the interior angles are by no means boundless.

" The sum of the exterior angles of a polygon are 360 degrees regardless of the number of sides. That means that the measure of each exterior angle must get smaller as the number of sides increases. There is no "least possible measure" because even though the limiting value is 0 you can never achieve a 0 degree exterior angle and still have a polygon. You can get as close to zero as you like, but as close as you get, someone else can always come along and get closer. Another way to look at it is that a zero degree exterior angle measure implies that there are an infinite number of sides. And an infinite number of sides implies a circle, not a polygon."

Personally, I would argue that a circle, or infinite sided polygon, does not possess a zero degree exterior angle. That's because an infinite amount of nothing will still give you nothing. Nevermind how much nothing you get, you'll still be left holding nothing. The sum of the exterior angles, regardless of the fact that they are infinite in number, shall always add upto 360 degrees. Therefore each exterior angle must be seen to amount to something, even if it is something infinitesimally tiny, in order to reach the sum of 360 degrees. Coincidentally, this exact same restriction we find outside the circumference of any polygon, or circle, is also at work in the shape's centre.

One of the defining properties of a circle, and indeed, any regular polygon, is that its entire central angle ALWAYS measures 360 degrees. If we were to add a central vertex, or central point to a pentagon for example, and inscribe triangles in the same way that we might slice up a pizza, then our pentagon would produce 5 triangles - all sides would have the same length, and all the interior angles would be the exact same size. The central angle of each triangle will also be the same, and the sum of these shall ALWAYS add upto 360 degrees.

~~Image: The central angle of a regular pentagon (5 × 72° = 360°)

Using this same method, we can imagine inscribing triangles to an infinitely sided polygon, to create an infinite number of infinitesimal triangles. But if we add the sum of these infinitesimally tiny central angles together, they produce the sum of 360 degrees. It doesn't matter how many triangles we have, infinite number or not, they shall always add up to 360 degrees. An infinite sided polygon does not have a central angle whose sum reaches an infinite number of degrees - it produces only an infinite number of ways to percieve the finite sum of 360 degrees.

I have always imagined infinity as an entity which fulfils the very definition of freedom. But where is all the freedom that I was hoping to embrace? No, infinity offers only the illusion of freedom. Infinity can never escape the confines of the finite. The term infinite is not actually describing the phenomena of ever-expanding space - it only pretends to.

We imagine that in order to behold the infinite we have to travel to some far-flung, incomprehensible horizon - but the reality is, for us to comprehend the infinite, we don't so much as have to leave the spot. Infinity is always describing the exact same space - a space chopped up into an infinite number of ways, an infinite number of ways in-which to percieve it - but it is the exact same space nonetheless.

If the state of infinity were truly free, then surely, there should be no restrictions to its growth whatsoever. Here however, we can see that infinity is shackled to enormous constraints. We can try to develop a sense of the infinitely big - building a polygon with infinite sides - but we find that that growth is constricted by a number of finite limits.

Infinite growth is restricted by constraints imposed both inside and outside the circle. The sum of the central angle, and the sum of the exterior angle can never exceed 360 degrees. Also, the linear pair of the exterior and interior angles can never exceed 180 degrees. Infinity is dependent upon how big we make each interior angle, and at the same time, how small we make each exterior angle. Each interior angle can never extend to, or beyond 180 degrees, and at the same time, the exterior angle can never be allowed to fall to zero. If any of these restrictions are breached, well, then you no longer have a perfect circle.

A circle may well be a polygon with infinite sides, but at its heart, it is still very much a square - a square bent infinitely out of shape - but a square nonetheless. A square of finite proportions.

The sum of the interior angles, the angles which exist inside the circumference of the circle as it were, can reach figures which are infinite - but this stands only as an expression of how limited our understanding is. The sum of the interior angles could never truly, unrelentlessly expand into infinite space - there is a limit in place. A limit so vast that it is unknowable - but a limit nonetheless. We may not be able to know the number of that limit, but we can see it. We see it all the time. That's because the limit itself is a construct of a remarkably simple shape - the circle.

~~Image: The human eye - one of the most outstanding examples of a circle that we see everyday.

The state of infinity perhaps, might best be described as a place that exists somewhere between a square and a circle. If this were true, what exactly does it mean for the supposedly infinite ratio of pi?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Contemplating Infinity

The word after "infinity" in my dictionary is "infirm," a definition of which is "weak of mind." This is how many of us who are not mathematically inclined feel upon contemplating infinity. (To see how mathematicians and similar thinkers regard infinity, see Working With Infinity: A Mathematical Perspective.)

We feel weak because our finite minds can only go so far with the concept, and because every time we think we're on the verge of securing even a shadowy understanding, we're tripped up by something. A friend of mine once told me that trying to hold her hyperactive toddler was like trying to hold a live salmon. Infinity is like that for us "infirm ones": slippery as a salmon, forever eluding our grasp.

Becoming numb

This is true no matter how you approach the concept. Many of us might consider numbers the most sure-footed way to come within sight of infinity, even if the mathematical notion of infinity is something we'll never even remotely comprehend.

We may think, for starters, that we're well on our way to getting a sense of infinity with the notion of no biggest number. There's always an ever larger number, right? Well, no and yes. Mathematicians tell us that any infinite set—anything with an infinite number of things in it—is defined as something that we can add to without increasing its size. The same holds true for subtraction, multiplication, or division. Infinity minus 25 is still infinity; infinity times infinity is—you got it—infinity. And yet, there is always an even larger number: infinity plus 1 is not larger than infinity, but 2infinity is.

Try another tack: huge numbers. When we play with mind-boggling figures we non-math types may think we're playing in infinity's neighborhood, if not in the same playground. When we're told that the decimals in certain significant numbers, like pi and the square root of two, go on forever, we can somehow accept that, especially when we learn that computers have calculated the value of pi, for one, to over a trillion places, with no final value for pi in sight. (For more on pi, see Approximating Pi.) When we're told that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible ways to arrange the squares on the Rubik Cube's six sides, we may feel intuitively (if not rationally) that we must be on our way to the base of that loftiest of all peaks, Mt. Infinity.

One reason we may feel this way is that such numbers are as intellectually unapproachable to the mathematically challenged as infinity itself. Take a Googol. A Googol is 10100, or 1 followed by 100 zeroes, and is the largest named number in the West. The Buddhists have an even more robust number, 10140, which they know as asankhyeya. Just for fun, I'll name a larger number yet, 101000. I'll call it the "Olivian," after my daughter. Now, doesn't an Olivian get me a little closer to infinity than the Googolians or even the Buddhists can get? Nope. Infinity is just as far from an Olivian as it is from a Googol—or, for that matter, from 1.

For many of us uncomfortable with infinity, the word number can be defined as “that which makes numb.”

Perhaps we infirm ones would be wise to take a leaf from the lingual book of Madagascar. The word there for a million is tapitrisa, which means "the finishing of counting." For some tribal groups in other parts of the world, counting stops at three, in fact; anything above that is "many." In some ways this makes sense. How many of us can keep more than a few things in our minds at once? I remember playing a game with myself as a child in which I would think "I'm thinking that I'm thinking that I'm thinking that I'm thinking...." After the third or fourth "I'm thinking," I could no longer retain in my head all the degrees it implies. Such infirmity holds for simple counting as well, as Lewis Carroll reveals so tellingly in Through the Looking Glass:

"Can you do Addition?" the White Queen asks. "What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?"

"I don't know," said Alice. "I lost count."

"She can't do Addition," the Red Queen interrupted. "Can you do Subtraction?"

For many of us uncomfortable with infinity, the word number can be defined as "that which makes numb," as Rudy Rucker wryly notes in his book Infinity and the Mind (Birkhäuser, 1982). This is especially true when a number is so outlandishly enormous that it smacks, however remotely, of the infinite. Galileo himself felt this way. "Infinities and indivisibles transcend our finite understanding, the former on account of their magnitude, the latter because of their smallness," he wrote in his Dialogues of Two New Sciences of 1638. "Imagine what they are when combined." Rather not, thanks—makes me numb.

Incredible shrinking

Infinities do come in two sizes, of course—not only the infinitely large but also the infinitely small. As Jonathan Swift wrote, "So, naturalists observe, a flea/Has smaller fleas that on him prey/And these have smaller still to bite `em/And so proceed ad infinitum." We may not be able to conceive of Swift's infinitesimal fleas, because reason insists they don't exist, but we can imagine ever smaller numbers without much trouble. It's no hardship, for example, to grasp the notion of an infinity of numbers stretching between, say, the numerals 2 and 3. Take half of the 1 that separates them, we might tell ourselves, then half of that half, then half of that half, and so proceed ad infinitum.

Of course, just when we think we have infinity in the palm of our hands, we watch it evaporate in the harsh light of another of those confounding paradoxes: the numerals 2 and 3 are separated by both a finite number (1) and an infinity of numbers. This conundrum spawned one of the great paradoxes of history, known as Zeno's paradox. Zeno was a Greek philosopher of the fourth century B.C. who "proved" that motion was impossible. For a runner to move from one point to another, Zeno asserted, he must first cover half the distance, then half the remaining distance, then half the remaining distance again, and so on and so on. Since this would require an infinite number of strides, he could never reach his destination, even if it lay just a few strides away.

It wasn't for 2,000 years that Zeno's paradox finally got "solved," for all intents and purposes, by the calculus. Its inventors, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, showed us how an infinite sum can add up to a finite amount, that it can converge to a limit. Thus, even though we can't count all the numbers between 2 and 3, we know they converge to 1.

No limits

As Zeno's paradox hints, considering infinity from the perspective of space has much correspondence with that of numbers. We can imagine, for instance, that space, like numbers, is infinitely divisible. We believe Hamlet when he says "I could be bounded in a nutshell/And count myself a king of infinite space." The shortest length physicists speak of is the Planck length, 10-33 centimeters. But might not there be an even shorter length, say, 10-333 centimeters, or 10-an infinite number of 3's centimeters?

Many of us are as queasy around eternity as we are around infinity.

As with numbers, we can also envision space as being infinitely large. After all, if the universe has a boundary, what's on the other side? We might flatter ourselves that we're somehow getting closer to infinity when we consider extremely large distances. On June 12, 1983, while traveling at over 30,000 mph, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft became the first human-made object to exit our solar system. Some 300,000 years from now, unless something interrupts its voyage, the craft is expected to pass near the star Ross 248, a red dwarf in the constellation Taurus. Ross 248 is about 10.1 light-years from Earth, or about 59,278,920,000,000 miles away. Pioneer 10 will still be in the early stages of its journey, though. When our sun bloats into a red giant about five billion years from now and incinerates our planet, our robotic ambassador will still be heading away, knocking off more than 250 million miles a year.

Are we making headway towards an infinite distance with such knowledge? Hardly. An infinite distance, as you've guessed, would be as far from where Pioneer 10 will be in five billion years as it is from the Earth now. If the universe is infinitely large, even the remotest stars we can detect, which are so far away that their light left them some 12 billion years ago, are as far from infinity as we are. (Things get tricky here: as one mathematician pointed out to me, infinity is an abstract concept, appearing only in our mental images of the universe. It is not actually in the universe.)

Forever and a day

Time is another way to contemplate infinity, though many of us are as queasy around eternity as we are around infinity. ("That's the trouble with eternity, there's no telling when it will end," Tom Stoppard writes in Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead.) Yet isn't infinite time somehow easier to swallow than finite time? After all, what can stop time?

Many of us do indeed live our lives thinking that eternity is a given. And again, we may fool ourselves into thinking that we're on the way to eternity when we think of 12 billion years, or of any other frighteningly mind-bending length of time. One of the gamest attempts to define eternity appears in Hendrik Willem Van Loon's 1921 children's classic The Story of Mankind:

High up in the North in the land called Svithjod, there stands a rock. It is 100 miles high and 100 miles wide. Once every thousand years a little bird comes to the rock to sharpen its beak. When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by.

That passage gives you an inkling for just how gosh-darn long eternity is. But all the usual caveats apply: eternity doesn't have a length, that single "day" of eternity is as far in time from eternity itself as a normal day, etc., etc.

Fear of the infinite

If all this leaves you feeling numb, you're not alone. The Greeks, in fact, invented apeirophobia, fear of the infinite. (The term comes from the Greek word for infinity, apeiron, which means "without boundary.") Aristotle would only admit that the natural numbers (1, 2, 28, etc.) could be potentially infinite, because they have no greatest member. But they could not be actually infinite, because no one, he believed, could imagine the entire set of natural numbers as a finished thing. The Romans felt just as uncomfortable, with the emperor Marcus Aurelius dismissing infinity as "a fathomless gulf, into which all things vanish."

“Infinity is where things happen that don’t.”

The ancients' horror infiniti held sway through the Renaissance and right up to modern times. In 1600, the Inquisitors in Italy deemed the concept so heretical that when the philosopher Giordano Bruno insisted on promulgating his thoughts on infinity, they burned him at the stake for it. Later that century, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal deemed the concept truly disturbing: "When I consider the small span of my life absorbed in the eternity of all time, or the small part of space which I can touch or see engulfed by the infinite immensity of spaces that I know not and that know me not, I am frightened and astonished to see myself here instead of there ... now instead of then." Martin Buber, an Israeli philosopher who died in 1965, felt so undone by the concept of infinity that he "seriously thought of avoiding it by suicide."

Most of us will never feel so put out by infinity that we'll resort to contemplating such extreme measures. We may feel weak of mind, like the anonymous schoolboy who once declared that "infinity is where things happen that don't." But our uneasiness will never get much greater than the schoolboy's delightfully dismissive attitude suggests his got. We can live with that level of discomfort, contenting ourselves with the knowledge that all we can reasonably expect in musing on infinity is to get a feeling for it, like that engendered by this gem from another anonymous sufferer of our common infirmity: "Infinity is a floorless room without walls or ceiling."

~~Contemplating Infinity:
A Philosophical Perspective
by Peter Tyson
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/archimedes/contemplating.html

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Give Me Some More Pi, Please

~~Image: Pi Pie

I'm trying to wrap my head around pi. I mean, what is it exactly? We all know it's a ratio, and one that defines the relationship between the diameter of a circle to its circumference. That relationship is expressed as the number of times the diameter of a circle fits in around its circumference. That's essentially what pi is, but why is it that it is expressed as a seemingly infinite number of digits after the decimal point?

~~Image: Circle illustration showing a radius, a diameter, the centre and the circumference.

Plenty of sites all over the net offer lots of interesting facts about pi, but no matter how many of these you try to cram in, they all still seem to fail in satisfying the pangs for what it is that pi is exactly. For example, below are some facts about pi:

"The sequences of digits in Pi have so far passed all known tests for randomness.Here are the first 100 decimal places of Pi3.141592653589793238462643383279502884…

The fraction (22 / 7) is a well-used number for Pi. It is accurate to 0.04025%.

Another fraction used as an approximation to Pi is (355 / 113) which is accurate to 0.00000849%

A more accurate fraction of Pi is (104348 / 33215). This is accurate to 0.00000001056%.

Pi occurs in hundreds of equations in many sciences including those describing the DNA double helix, a rainbow, ripples spreading from where a raindrop fell into water, general relativity, geometry problems, waves, etc.

There is no zero in the first 31 digits of Pi.Pi is irrational. An irrational number is a number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers.

In 1991, the Chudnovsky brothers in New York, using their computer, m zero, calculated pi to two billion two hundred sixty million three hundred twenty one thousand three hundred sixty three digits (2, 260, 321, 363). They halted the program that summer.

The Pi memory champion is Hiroyoki Gotu, who memorized an amazing 42,000 digits.The old memory champion was Hideaki Tomoyori, born Sep. 30, 1932. In Yokohama, Japan, Hideaki recited pi from memory to 40,000 places in 17 hrs. 21 min. including breaks totaling 4 hrs. 15min. on 9-10 of March in 1987 at the Tsukuba University Club House.

Pi is of course the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. If you bring everything up one dimension to get 3D value for Pi, the ratio of a sphere's surface area to the area of the circle seen if you cut the sphere in half is exactly 4."

Do you see what I mean? We can try and digest facts about pi all day long, just as we could try and consume the millions and millions of digits of pi over an entire lifetime, and we would still be left feeling ... empty. The reason as to why pi is an infinite number remains pervasively evasive. The mind, in its search for patterns and relationships, seems unable to relate to pi in any way whatsoever, other than drawing the one obvious conclusion that it is indeed a number. An apparently infinite number. But where do these numbers lead to?

I like the idea that it is a truly random collection of numbers, having been shown to exist without having being formed by any KNOWN pattern, but one that must be sub-ordinate to some higher order that we are as yet unaware of, simply because it is these exact same digits, innumerable as they are, appearing in the exact same order everytime we try to evoke pi. The post below is taken from The Sheila Variations, and offers a splendid insight into just how unrandom the random numbers of pi might be. Extracts used in the post are taken from a New Yorker article entitled The Mountains of Pi, written by Richard Preston, which reveal not only the lost world of homemade super-computers, but also something of man's obsession with identifying what is is that the empyreal pi is trying to convey:

"I knew I had read a profile in the New Yorker years ago about Pi, and then remembered that I have it in one of the New Yorker compilations that I own. It’s called “The Mountains of Pi”, and it’s from 1992, a profile of two brothers (the Chudnovsky brothers) on their quest for Pi. That makes it sound tame and intellectual. No. This is a profile of shared obsession.

I love having a library. “Wasn’t there something about Pi in one of those New Yorker books I have …?”

It’s also online – very fascinating profile of two men driven to extremes by their desire to understand pi. It’s also from a time when something like a “computer” in your house was something of a novelty, let alone a “supercomputer”, built to order. Built to serve Pi and Pi alone.

The Chudnovsky brothers claim that the digits of pi form the most nearly perfect random sequence of digits that has ever been discovered. They say that nothing known to humanity appears to be more deeply unpredictable than the succession of digits in pi, except, perhaps, the haphazard clicks of a Geiger counter as it detects the decay of radioactive nuclei. But pi is not random. The fact that pi can be produced by a relatively simple formula means that pi is orderly. Pi looks random only because the pattern in the digits is fantastically complex. The Ludolphian number is fixed in eternity – not a digit out of place, all characters in their proper order, an endless sentence written to the end of the world by the division of the circle’s diameter into its circumference. Various simple methods of approximation will always yield the same succession of digits in the same order. If a single digit in pi were to be changed anywhere between here and infinity, the resulting number would no longer be pi; it would be “garbage”, in David’s word, because to change a single digit in pi is to throw all the following digits out of whack and miles from pi.

“Pi is a damned good fake of a random number,” Gregory said. “I just wish it were not as good a fake. It would make our lives a lot easier.”

Around the three-hundred-millionth decimal place of pi, the digits go 88888888 – eight eights pop up in a row. Does this mean anything? It appears to be random noise. Later, ten sixes erupt: 6666666666. What does this mean? Apparently nothing, only more noise. Somewhere past the half-billion mark appears the string 123456789. It’s an accident, as it were. “We do not have a good, clear, crystallized idea of randomness,” Gregory said. “It cannot be that pi is truly random. Actually, truly random sequence of numbers has not yet been discovered.”

Our minds just don't seem capable of taking pi in. It is an infinite amount of digits, but ones that do not vanish over some distant horizon, stretched over an infinite distance, as the mind might imagine them doing. No, the infinite numbers of pi do not move further and further away from us, but can be seen to exist in a very finite distance, a space which recedes into nothing more than a point, an infinitesimal dot as it were. I wonder if it might be possible to create a form of pi which might be digested, and ultimately understood by the mind?

Friday, 1 April 2011

Mysterious Pi

"Throughout the many centuries pi (π) has been examined and dissected in countless ways. The fascination with pi continues to the present. To this day no one has noticed anything unusual about pi.

When I was eighteen years I noticed the 3_4_5 right at the start of pi. I thought it odd that the Pythagorean triplet would begin right at the start of pi but gave it no more thought. Years later I noticed the 1_1_2 at the start of the square root of two and thought that this discovery was strange. These two oddities both at the same position fanned my curiosity. During the many years of examining pi (π), √2 and S I found that these three constants have an very odd interwoven relationship.

[..]Pi = 3.14159265358979323... It is very odd that a group of eight small different contiguous primes: 3, 14159, 2, 653, 5, 89, 7, 9323 are right at the start of pi. Many and possibly infinite small (numbers with five or fewer digits) and large (greater than five digits) different contiguous primes may exist after 9323. As it turns out right after the 9323 prime the next contiguous prime is: 846264338327........303906979207, it is 3057 digits long. So if pi started with 8462... the first prime would be 3057 digits long.

It will be interesting to see how many digits the average contiguous prime has. Perhaps more interesting may be to find how scarce are groups consisting of eight small contiguous primes of which none of the prime numbers are duplicated."

~~Extracts taken from "Proof of the Existence of God - The Ingenious Numeration of Three Constants" by Vasilios Gardiakos http://www.artmusicdance.com/vaspi/highlights.htm