Happy τ Day!

That’s right, its τ Day! Wait, what?

Recently, I have found an interesting proposal regarding the number π (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter, or, 3.14159265358979…and so on…). It states that using π is not the best choice and that we should use a constant that is equal to 2π, which is 6.283185307179586…and so on… Basically, the ratio between the circumference of a circle to it radius is more basic a concept than circumference to diameter.

So what’s the difference? Well the main point is that in almost every single equation that you encounter in math and physics that comes with a π in it, it actually comes as 2π or some multiple thereof. Therefore, it is more convenient to simply write τ (called “tau”), one character, than 2π, which is two characters. Physicists like to simplify things as much as possible when they can.

Therefore τ Day is 6/28, which is today!

There are other reasons too. Conceptually, it is more intuitive. Travelling τ radians takes you once around a circle. Travelling τ/2 radians takes you halfway. One tenth of a circle is τ/10, and so on. For π, the values would be 2ππ, and π/5, which don’t really make sense. Travelling π/5 takes you a tenth of the way around a circle, rather than a fifth?

Anyway, I love it, and maybe I’ll try to use it on some test and see what happens (initially noting that τ = 2π, of course).


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