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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Today is a day tau remember.

But to understand why, we must return for a moment to March 14th of last year when we got very excited over here on the blog about pi day.

Pi, as you may recall from that torture technique they call “math class” is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational, never-repeating number that begins with the digits 3.14.

Thus pi in all its mathematical profundity is celebrated on March 14.

But, you may also recall, pi is not only much better as pie, but it is also better in twos. And two pi equals tau, or, more impressively…

2π = τ

Tau is also an irrational, never-repeating number and it begins, not with 3.14 but with 6.28.

Which you may also recognize as tauday’s date.

Tau, it turns out, is twice as excellent as pi. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its radius.

And for reasons of math and computational things, working with the radius of a circle as opposed to its diameter is a lot easier.

For instance, the very definition of a circle is the set of points in a plane that are equidistant from a given point – which is based on its radius. Not a diameter in sight.

It’s no secret among anyone who knows me that math is not my strong suit. It’s useful and necessary but don’t ask me to do it. I memorized my multiplication tables in second grade and learned how to make change for a dollar, but I also spent half my life trying to subtract pennies and if you ask me how old I am I probably won’t remember.

So I’m not going to get too technical about tau. It’s just that learning stuff is cool and it seemed only fair to give tau its due.

I missed my chance to bake a pie on pi day, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to bake two of them today, so I did the next best thing. I made a round peach coffee cake and ate it with some tau. I mean tea. As I did, I contemplated how math isn’t so bad when it results in tau slices of pie… or cake.

A final fun little tidbit to prove that tau is better than one pi?

Starting at the 762nd decimal place of pi there is a string of six 9’s. Tau’s string starts at the 761st decimal place and it gets seven 9’s.

It’s trivia like that that makes math pretty interesting sometimes. Just don’t ask me how many days are left in the year or something. That’s a bridge tau far.

Photo: tauday’s peach cake. More delicious than math.