The Corner

Pi in The Sky

I assume everyone’s getting ready for pi day (i.e. 3/14). Don’t forget to fish out (or order, if you don’t have it) that wonderful CD of Ned Raggett reading the blessed number.

This year’s pi day is slightly special as it is also–on the US East coast, anyway–the date of a total penumbral lunar eclipse. So while listening to Ned read out the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, you can watch the Moon’s circle being overcome by the Earth’s circular shadow. A sort of pi in the sky experience.

And if that doesn’t awaken your sense of wonder, try this. It’s a long (about 50 minutes) radio program about the Anthropic Principle. Or “principles,” I should say, since at least four come up: the weak, strong, participatory, and final anthropic principles. On a busy morning, I thought I’d listen to the first 5 minutes to see if it was any good, ended up losing the full 50 minutes out of my schedule. Very well done. All angles covered: physics, cosmology, theology–there’s even a Chesterton quote (one I hadn’t heard before) & some readings from Douglas Adams. Is there an Ultimate Observer? Did **we** make the Big Bang happen, by observing its consequences? Are we living in an inside-out black hole? What can we say about the End of Time? Fascinating.

[Many thanks to various readers for these links.]

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