What does pi sound like? I had never thought of that before seeing this video. The musician in the video makes each digit correspond to a note on a scale. He then “plays” pi for 100 digits. The result is both random and beautiful – which is a perfect description of the number pi.
Pi is an irrational number. It cannot be expressed by a ratio of two integers. Instead, it describes the ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle. It goes on forever in randomness. According to wikipedia, pi has been extrapolated to 10 trillion digits (that would make for a very long song).
Pi is one of those pursuits that has endless applications. The more I learn about pi, the more I realize I know very little about it. I find that there is an incredible beauty in mathematics and things like pi and the lesser-known, but equally impressive phi (1.618).
What is less often discussed when it comes to things like Pi and Phi are the theological implications. Theology and science and mathematics are too often seen as competing interests, but to me these fields are about the search for meaning and truth. There are certainly distinctions that need to be made between these fields, but treating them as mutually exclusive is a a mistake as well. They use different tools and methods, but the search for truth is part of what makes us human.
Many see phenomena like pi and think, “there is no need for God.” I see pi and see a remarkable tool that God created. I cannot prove that I am correct. This is a faith statement, and faith is irrational. That does not make faith un-real.
For me, pi itself is a metaphor for faith. Pi is a reasonable construct of irrationality. Its very irrationality is a part of this universe that is full of randomness and chaos. It is out of chaos that God called things into order.
OK, so now I’m starting to get deeper than I originally intended, but I think this is an interesting conversation. I am fascinated by math, science, evolutionary biology, anthropology, astronomy, and theology. They are distinct, but cannot be separated. I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is a God-inspired pursuit. Happy Pi Day!
For more about how Religion and Science coexist, I highly recommend this book, What About Religion and Science, by Paul Stroble. You can follow @PaulStroble on Twitter, and read his blog called Journeys Home.