Why Tau Trumps Pi – Scientific American

The article, which should be required reading for all advanced high school students, creates a tantalizing picture of how much easier certain fundamental concepts of trigonometry could be in an alternate universe where we use tau. For example, with pi-based thinking, if you want to designate a point one third of the way around the circle, you say it has gone two thirds pi radians. Three quarters around the same circle has gone one and a half pi radians. Everything is distorted by a confusing factor of two. By contrast, a third of a circle is a third of tau. Three quarters of a circle is three quarters tau. As a result of pi, Palais says, “the opportunity to impress students with a beautiful and natural simplification is turned into an absurd exercise in memorization and dogma.”
— Read on www.scientificamerican.com/article/let-s-use-tau-it-s-easier-than-pi/

MIT Study Names Olin College World Leader in Engineering Education

A new MIT study has named Olin College of Engineering, along with MIT, as the top leaders in engineering education globally.

Source: MIT Study Names Olin College World Leader in Engineering Education

“We consider ourselves to be a national educational design laboratory and this study encourages our faculty and students to continue to explore the frontiers of learning. We seek to serve as a proof-of-concept that change can happen in academia and as a catalyst to help others evolving their learning practices and culture.”

Among the pedagogical features shared by the current leaders in engineering education are multiple opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning throughout the curriculum, the application of user-centered design principles and partnerships with industry, all of which characterize the learning program at Olin. In addition, Olin was cited specifically for its “multidisciplinary student-centered education that extends across and beyond traditional engineering disciplines and is anchored in issues of ethics and social responsibility.”

Secret Link Uncovered Between Pure Math and Physics | Quanta Magazine

An eminent mathematician reveals that his advances in the study of millennia-old mathematical questions owe to concepts derived from physics.
— Read on www.quantamagazine.org/secret-link-uncovered-between-pure-math-and-physics-20171201/

The rational numbers include the integers and any number that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers, such as 1, –4 and 99/100. Mathematicians are particularly interested in rational numbers that solve what are called “Diophantine equations” — polynomial equations with integer coefficients, like x2 + y2 = 1. These equations are named after Diophantus, who studied them in Alexandria in the third century A.D.