Monday, March 14, 2011
Pi, the Circumference of Things and other Mathematical Ponderings
Today is Albert Einstein's birthday. He's 132 years old. Well. He would be, except that he's been dead for almost 56 years.
Today is also Pi Day. In case you weren't aware, pi is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any Euclidean plane circle's circumference to its diameter. It is approximately equal to 3.14159265, hence March 14 is the day on which all we geeky nerds celebrate its very existence.
I think it's completely apropos that Albert Einstein was born on 3.14. It's just a pity he wasn't born in 1915, because then he could have been born on 3.14.15 which would totally geek me out.
There are only 6 days until spring is officially here, but this weekend was a lovely preview. Linda and I stole a way for a few hours on Saturday evening and headed downtown in search of beautiful light. We found it in abundance, along with gorgeous flowers, interesting people and a few light bulbs.
Some of the lightbulbs were spherical. You could use pi to calculate how big they were.
The Sunsphere is a sphere, as well. Its diameter is 75 feet, which means it has a radius (r) of 37.5 feet. The volume of the sphere is 4/3πr3, or 220,893 cubic feet. The first derivative with respect to the radius, 4πr2, gives you the surface area of the sphere, which is 17,671.45 square feet. The second derivative describes the circumference, which is 2πr, or approximately 235.6 feet.
Plus...it looks really pretty through the spring blossoms.