This week’s photo challenge calls for something blurry. I recalled something I saw at the Exploratorium on Pi Day: People could take large metal rings and spin them on a curved table. As a result of the altered surface (thus influencing the balance and center of mass), the spinning ring maintained its energy for much longer than it would have on a flat surface. Having a bright light made this physics exhibit a little more stylish. Since this is for a photo challenge, here’s a single shot of the ring in motion:
I spent Pi Day 2015 at the Exploratorium, which is pretty much the place to celebrate. The Exploratorium is always awesome, but there’s something special about seeing all these people turn out for the occasion. The line to get in was ridiculous (I’m used to just walking inside) but it was far less tedious thanks to the Pi Progression. Each person was given a yardstick with a number; then put in the order of pi’s never-ending digits. It’s impossible to have a full progression – there aren’t enough people on Earth – but these folks made a valiant effort. I wanted take part as well, but they were out of yardsticks by the time I got there. At least I got to record it all. Guess I’ll have to wait for next year…
So, did anyone else spend part of the day reading up on π and how crazy awesome it is?
…Heh, yeah. When I learned about π in grade school, I never really appreciated it; I used to believe in that strict English VS Math dichotomy, and definitely enjoyed the former more. But now, it’s actually quite fascinating. It’s an endlessly repeating pattern at the crux of so many analyses and scientific endeavors. I wonder where we’d be if the truly dedicated mathematicians of yesteryear hadn’t sat down and figured this stuff out the hard way. I used to think formulas were hard to understand. Just imagine someone having to calculate πwithout calculus. Archimedes must have been tearing out his hair trying to make it work! Yet here we are thousands of years’ worth of technology and insight later, and we still don’t know everything about this ever-present phenomenon. But we’ve certainly reaped its benefits; our understanding of physics, engineering, and the Universe itself is owed in part to this little symbol.