We Must Get Rid of Pi
Michael Hartl is the author of The Tau Manifesto, which argues that, quite simply, pi is wrong. He's also a physicist who has previously both studied and taught at Harvard and Caltech.
Pi is perhaps the most beloved number in the world. People devote an entire day to celebrating it and enthusiasts memorize it to hundreds of thousands of places. But Michael Hartl says it's time to lose pi in favor of a new symbol: tau. Hartl is the author of The Tau Manifesto, which argues that, quite simply, pi is wrong. He's also a physicist who has previously both studied and taught at Harvard and Caltech. So what is tau? Well, simply enough, it's 2*pi, or 2π . Whereas pi is defined as the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter (C/D=π), tau is defined as the circumference divided by the radius (C/r=τ).
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
From time-traveling billiard balls to information-destroying black holes, the world's got plenty of puzzles that are hard to wrap your head around.
- While it's one of the best on Earth, the human brain has a lot of trouble accounting for certain problems.
- We've evolved to think of reality in a very specific way, but there are plenty of paradoxes out there to suggest that reality doesn't work quite the way we think it does.
- Considering these paradoxes is a great way to come to grips with how incomplete our understanding of the universe really is.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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