by ‘abd al-Ghoosh
According to Google today, 14 March, is Pi Day. You can read all about it at the above links.
The non-mathematical may think Pi is for squares, but in fact it works for more than just circles.
In addition to calculating the distance around a circle, its circumference, you can also calculate the actual stream-distance of a river. The distance “as the crow flies” from the headwaters of a stream to its mouth, times 3.1415…etc, gives a close-to-exact figure. It is because the loops and bends in a stream pretty much add up to a circle in Nature, in relation to the straight-line distance.
As an amateur historian of indeed some salience and power, and of course of no end of non-institutionally conditioned insights both as startling as not presently fashonable perhaps, ‘inshAllah, one is continually impressed with the phenomenon of emerging human mathematical knowledge.
The art of it all lies in the knack for discovery by the individual brilliant mathematician. Just as in historianship, the sine qua non of the whole boiling is the eye for true beauty. In the persons of creative human workers Nature is only just now in this epoch of the Universe embarking on a journey of…mathematical (and historical!) self-discovery and awareness.
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[27 Rabi WaHad 1431//14 March 2010]