Yesterday in History. In Indiana.

Filed under:Heh,History — posted by Anwyn on February 6, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

Or, Where’s Waldo? He’s back in time saving the legislators of Indiana from signing a piece of mathematical ignorance into law.

1897: Egged on by an amateur mathematician, the Indiana General Assembly almost passes a bill adopting 3.2 as the exact value of pi (or π). Only the intervention of a Purdue University mathematician who happens to be visiting the legislature prevents the bill from becoming law, saving the most acute political embarrassment.

I love Indiana. And I love Purdue. And Indiana loves Purdue. Now you see one reason why. I wonder if the Purdue guys weighed in on the whole Daylight Savings Time thing, either when Indiana refused to go on it or when they mandated it and then tried to split the state into a few different chunks based on what large out-of-state city each chunk was closest to. If you can make sense of all that, be my guest. I pretty much keep track of what time it is where my parents live and don’t bother with the rest.

But back to Purdue. Ever heard the Engineers’ Cheer? The correct value of pi (or the beginning of it, at least) is built right into the sports at Purdue:

E to the X, DY, DX
E to the X, DX
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine
Three point one four one five nine
Cube root, square root, BTU
Slipstick, slide rule, GO! PURDUE!

Via Instapundit.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace