Friday, March 14, 2008
I continue to "geek out" today. Nerds have dubbed this day Pi (Greek letter ) day because of the month and day 3/14. Ironically it falls on the same day as Einstein's birthday. Pi is one of the most important mathematical constants. Pi can be found everywhere, from astronomy to probability to the physics of sound and light. It is mathematically irrational and transcendent number. It represents the world's oldest mathematical mystery: the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
A common use for Pi is to calculate the circumference of a circle (it's distance around). It can be found by multiplying Pi by the diameter (distance across) of the circle. Pi is approximated to 3.14. Actually, its 3.14159..... . It goes on and on. Because of my 10 grade math teacher Mr. Fronhoffer, I accept it as 3.14159 (oddly enough I wasn't good at math).
The knowledge of Pi was used in the construction of Solomon's Temple (see 1 Kings 7:23). As an existential geek I've always loved this symbol. Some how I felt that the enigma of has some divine message, that this incalculable foundational constant in mathematics is analogous to an incalculable God, that can not be completely nailed down, but only approximated. A mysterious constant present in the fabric of our existence. This begs the question, if we can accept a in math and science, can't we accept one in life?
Here's more Pi
He was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany.
Einstein learned to speak at a late age, he was considered a slow learner as a child, and he showed no particular aptitude for formal schooling. His theory of general relativity (E = mc2) revolutionized science. His name is synonymous with intellectual giftedness.
Interestingly enough this iconic scientific figure firmly believed there was a God and was fascinated by the Historical Jesus. In the following quote he rejects a contemporary author, Emil Ludwig's view on Jesus. This is portion of an interview with the magazine The Saturday Evening Post, in 1929 :
"To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?"
"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."
"Have you read Emil Ludwig's book on Jesus?"
"Emil Ludwig's Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot."
"You accept the historical Jesus?""Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."1
1. George Sylvester Viereck, "What Life Means to Einstein", The Saturday Evening Post, 26 October 1929.