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Occulto Issue Pi: Constants and variables

Massimo Sandal, Roberto Lalli et al.

The time was not ripe to settle down and get a range life, so here’s the new Occulto issue. It’s dedicated to Constants & Variables, and to our friend 3.14.

Proteins that pave the way to new forms of art; cutting-edge mathematicians that are not afraid of contradictions and inconsistencies; gossips about the editorial history of the Bible; dowsers that hand down their special talent from father to son; tensions between scientific mainstream and outsiders no more able to understand nature in the light of the new theories; and more! As usual yummi supplement you get a compilation curated by Onga Boring Machines, featuring tracks by Maurizio Abate, MS Miroslaw, Von Tesla, Architeuthis Rex…

If I really must call something universal I’d rather go for an entity like the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximately equal to 3.14159 and also known as pi or π. This irrational and transcendental number whose value is impossible to know in its entirety – its decimal digits are infinite and don’t present any regularity – is the superstar among mathematical constants. It has made it into the laymen world in various forms, including a song by Kate Bush, a geeky practice called piphilogy – consisting in the memorization of as many digits of pi as possible – and a wonderful late 90s movie where a talented but troubled mathematician ends up using a drill to perform a DIY lobotomy on himself. Pi occurs in many different area of mathematics and appears routinely also in physics, notably in equations such as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle or Einstein’s field equation, that describe fundamental principles of our universe. One is tempted to fantasize about its being a number ‘written’ in nature, maybe even a common ground to start communications with hypothetical intelligent aliens.

Language: English