Pi Is Very Slowly and Nerdily Going Out of Style


Some sad news for pi enthusiasts on Pi Day. Apparently, something called “tau” is becoming the hot new circle-based infinite mathematical constant:

Tau, technically, is just pi multiplied by 2, so about 6.28. But Michael Hartl, a physicist by training who’s now an educational entrepreneur, considers this number a more elegant and appropriate circle constant than pi and thinks pi should be replaced by tau across the field of mathematics (with the proper factors of 2, of course)….

Hartl gets e-mails almost every day from people who are excited about his ideas and say they’re “converting to tauism.” But, of course, there are a lot of pi loyalists out there, too.

Why are people so passionate about whether we use tau or pi? Because the difference between them is so vast, and so consequential, that the outcome of this great mathematical battle could change everything:

Okay, it wouldn’t change anything.

On Pi Day, is ‘pi’ under attack? [CNN]