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The beauty of irrationality

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By John Pawlak

There once was a number called pi.  So special like e and like phi.  The circumference to D is the ratio for me.  And it’s not a multiple of i.”
You really have to love mathematics to admire the symmetry of math poems.  This particular one is known as a pi-poem, or a piem.  Some people use the word piem to refer to a haiku-like poem of 3 lines with 3 syllables, 1 syllable, and 4 syllables.  Or if you wish, you can simply write a standard haiku about pi and call it a piku.
Does math really merit a poetic presence in our world?  Consider a typical math problem:  Given that four black cows and three brown cows give as much milk in five days as three black cows and five brown cows give in four days, then if the farmer gets really hungry, which cows should he eat first?
Okay, math questions usually don’t give students the opportunity to apply algebraic concepts to dietary situations like that.  More often, it’s something much more dull like “What’s the ten millionth digit of pi?”  Or a more typical question; What’s 7 times 8?  Well, it’s the same thing as it was yesterday and very likely won’t change next week either.  How many times do we have to ask the same question?


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