Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weinersmith for February 16, 2017

February 15, 2017

February 17, 2017

Transcript:

How to tell the difference science fan scientist how many digits of Pi have you memorized? 1,681. I add a new one every day. How many digits of Pi have you memorized? ... ... ... ...one?

Hey, when you grew up with slide rules, 3.14 was as good as it got (And you hoped the slide rule with pi and e marked on them really were more accurate than that…)

After reading Starman Jones by Heinlein, I memorized pi out to 30 places…

3.14159265358979 is about what I remember 55 years later… Never did need it to that accuracy…

Basically yes, but this is exaggerating a bit. For sure, no “scientist” would know Pi only as “3”. Scientists and engineers know what they use and need, to do rough estimates in discussions and thinking things through. They often know less digits as compared to “science fans”, but they often know more different items and quantities. As for Pi, you would at least know 3.14, which is enough for rough estimates and calculations made by paper and pencil. For real calculations you would use a computer anyway (I happen to know Pi as 3.141592, but I know that much digits since I was about 14 years old). The speed of light I happen to know exactly as 299,792,458 m/s because I learned this as a child from a physics encyclopedia and never forgot it. For any estimate calculation I would of course use 300,000,000 m/s.

For most real life calculations, 3.14 or 22/7 are fine. Most real world measurements are no more accurate than that anyway. If you need more accuracy, use a computer program with a stored value sufficient to match the accuracy of the rest of the figures involved. Remember, the answer to any calculation is only as accurate as the least accurate figure used.

## Baslim the Beggar Premium Member over 2 years ago

Hey, when you grew up with slide rules, 3.14 was as good as it got (And you hoped the slide rule with pi and e marked on them really were more accurate than that…)

After reading Starman Jones by Heinlein, I memorized pi out to 30 places…

3.14159265358979 is about what I remember 55 years later… Never did need it to that accuracy…

## Three Steps Over Japan over 2 years ago

When what you love doesn’t make it over to what it is you do.

## Qiset over 2 years ago

I remember the first time using a slide rule wasn’t good enough. In a class called optics when we were calculating ray tracing.

## gmadoll789 Premium Member over 2 years ago

How I want a drink – alcoholic, of course, after those heavy chapters involving quantum mechanics!-Issac Asimov

## gmadoll789 Premium Member over 2 years ago

Can’t get my picture around right, tho. . .

## Spock 7 months ago

Basically yes, but this is exaggerating a bit. For sure, no “scientist” would know Pi only as “3”. Scientists and engineers know what they use and need, to do rough estimates in discussions and thinking things through. They often know less digits as compared to “science fans”, but they often know more different items and quantities. As for Pi, you would at least know 3.14, which is enough for rough estimates and calculations made by paper and pencil. For real calculations you would use a computer anyway (I happen to know Pi as 3.141592, but I know that much digits since I was about 14 years old). The speed of light I happen to know exactly as 299,792,458 m/s because I learned this as a child from a physics encyclopedia and never forgot it. For any estimate calculation I would of course use 300,000,000 m/s.

## josh_bisbee 7 months ago

I can remember up to 5 digits.

## stuart 7 months ago

I remember 10 digits, but know now to calculate as many as needed for special applications:

atan(1) = Pi/4 <— converges

veryslowlyatan(1) = atan(1/2) + atan(1/3)

atan(1) = 2*atan(1/3) + atan(1/7) <— I use this instead

atan(1) = 4*atan(1/5) – atan(1/239) <— slower than the previous

atan(x) = x – x^3/3 + x^5/5 – x^7/7 + x^9/9 …

## su43dipta 7 months ago

Me no memory pi digits! Me very good Science-ist!

## Billy Yank 7 months ago

For most real life calculations, 3.14 or 22/7 are fine. Most real world measurements are no more accurate than that anyway. If you need more accuracy, use a computer program with a stored value sufficient to match the accuracy of the rest of the figures involved. Remember, the answer to any calculation is only as accurate as the least accurate figure used.

## wjones 7 months ago

I remember many years ago they just used 3 1/7.

## AtariDragon 7 months ago

The main difference is that science fans seem to think their 9th grade general science textbook is some sort of sacred scripture.

## Znox11 7 months ago

All I know is this; If my Mom cuts a pie into 8 pieces, there is more pie then if she cuts it into 6 pieces.

## Andrew Bosch Premium Member 7 months ago

“Never memorize anything you can look up” – Albert Einstein

## Plods with Ice Dragons Premium Member 7 months ago

8…

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