The Colin McEnroe Show
2:33 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Pi - A Window On Infinity

It's Pi Day, and we have to ask, can numbers be sexy?

Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia is being revived on Broadway right now. I saw it Friday night. Much of the play is about a young math genius, a girl living 200 years ago, who writes in her notebook: "I, Thomasina Coverly, have found a truly wonderful method whereby all the forms of nature must give up their numerical secrets and draw themselves through numbers alone." She asks her tutor:"God's truth, Septimus, if there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose? Do we believe nature is written in numbers?" Well, numbers are written in nature, especially our friend Pi. As Richard Preston wrote in the New Yorker 20 years ago:  Pi hides in the rainbow, and sits in the pupil of the eye, and when a raindrop falls into water pi emerges in the spreading rings.  Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.

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