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Topic: The Reason Why Tau Is Fundamental And Why Pi Is Not
Replies: 43   Last Post: Feb 9, 2013 9:20 PM

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 Transfer Principle Posts: 330 Registered: 9/4/11
Re: The Reason Why Tau Is Fundamental And Why Pi Is Not
Posted: Jan 3, 2013 2:30 PM

On Jan 3, 4:17 am, "J.B. Wood" <john.w...@nrl.navy.mil> wrote:
> On 01/02/2013 07:44 PM, 1treePetrifiedForestLane wrote:> if you're programming the navigational device,
> > I want to get off of the spaceship; thank you.
> > seriously, to what value do you assign,
> > the Greek letter, tau?

My first post of the new year. Happy New Year!

> Hello, and what is to be gained by multiplying pi by an integer and and
> then introducing a new constant?

Just last week, I watched a precalculus student struggle with
the concept of radian measure. The student sees a right angle
and wants to call its measure "pi/4," since intuitively such
an angle is a quarter of _something_. And then when I point
out that the intuitive answer is off by a factor of two, the
student then replies with "pi/8" instead.

This is why some mathematicians argue that the fundamental
circle constant should be tau, not pi. Then many teenagers
struggling with math will be able to refer to the right angle
as "tau/4" and be correct. What is to be gained is a more
intuitive measure and fewer wrong answers on high school
precalculus exams.

Like the OP, I have indeed watched the YouTube videos that
advocate tau over pi (most notably by Vi Hart). And, like
the OP, I've also seen the video advocating the right angle
as the fundamental constant, which the author calls "eta"
(whereas Herc calls it "RA"). But then again, I prefer to use
"eta" to denote e^(1/e), a number that appears in tetration.

One thing I like about the pi vs. tau debates is that we do
not have each side of the debate accusing the other of not
understanding mathematics, as frequently occurs in the Cantor
and other sci.math debates.

Once again, Happy New Year, and I look forward to celebrating
both Pi Day and Tau Day in 2013.