A few years back, I heard a couple of friends discussing the book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel and I became curious so I pulled a copy from the AUS library and read it. Until the last page, I was still curious about what the big deal was. In other words, I didn’t really like it that much.
Later on,I read the History of Pi [this one concerning the number =3.14] , and despite some unnecessary political commentary in the midst, it had more interesting anecdotes than the story Life of Pi. Yes, the history of the number 3.141592653589793238462643383279502 was more interesting (i.e. that’s how boring the Life of Pi was).
But the thing about the popularization of the novel Life of Pi is that it helps me tell the story of how it’s like in grad school.
“How’s grad school?”
“You know life of pi? The boy stuck on a boat in the middle of nowhere with a tiger? That’s exactly how we are as grad students, except that the tiger is our thesis.”
So the book did serve a purpose after all.
Going back to talking about pi the number, I read a fascinating quote on the internet the other day, “The ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter. And this [3.1415926535... ] is just the beginning. It keeps on going. Forever. Without ever repeating. Which means that contained within this string of decimals is every single other number. Your birth date, combination to your locker, your Social Security number. It’s all in there somewhere. and if you convert these decimals into letters, you would have every word that ever existed in every possible combination. The first syllable you spoke as a baby, the name of your latest crush. Everything we say or do… all of the world’s infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle. Now, what you do with that information… what it’s good for… well, that would be up to you.”
*If you are familiar with Excel you’ll understand why I put brackets after pi in the title…