Happy Phi Day! Take 3

Note: What follows is pretty much fluff, like a great deal of my writing. I want the world to be a “funner” place. Over the past several days, however, events in the area (St. Louis) I used to call home have been anything but fun. I started this post last week and decided to finish it this morning as a break from staring impotently at the news in my Twitter feed.

Today marks the third anniversary of my quixotic quest to get 14 August recognized as Phi Day.

I am all for cheesy, sciencey holidays like Pi Day and Mole Day. Holidays are fun. When they are at their best, they also teach us something. Religious and civic holidays are meant to transmit lessons – think of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Passover, Memorial Day, and Christmas. Some do a better job than others (I’m looking at you Columbus Day). Why shouldn’t our sciencey holidays also convey meaning about the thing they are representing?

Think about this exchange:

Me: Happy Phi Day!

You: What is “Phi Day”?

How we respond depends on which day we choose for Phi Day. Continue reading “Happy Phi Day! Take 3”

Happy Phi Day! – now with added Pyrofibonacciology

Today is one of the annual celebrations of my quixotic quest to have the “days” associated with particularly important numbers, like Phi (φ) and Pi (π), placed upon days that actually reflect the math behind the numbers. The number Phi (φ) is the ratio between a longer line segment and a shorter line segment in a variety of geometric shapes, including the famous golden rectangle, pentagrams, and the Fibonacci spiral. August 14th is the day in the calendar year that best creates this same ratio between the total length of the year and the date in question. Therefore, August 14th is, or rather should be, celebrated internationally as Phi Day.

Since I run this joint, it is officially Phi Day at The Finch & Pea. If we had merchandise, there would probably be a discount. I suspect this would not change the likelihood that you would buy The Finch & Pea merchandise.

In honor of Phi Day, I thought it might be fun to revisit the foundational text of the field of pyrofibonacciology. Continue reading “Happy Phi Day! – now with added Pyrofibonacciology”

Happy Phi Day!

As you may not be aware, we have declared today, 14 August, to be Phi Day. Here at The Finch & Pea we don’t go in for the superficial assignment of such days to the date that looks like the estimated value of important numbers in your particular dating system (eg, putting Pi Day on 14 March).

Phi is also known as the Golden Ratio. While it can be expressed as the number 1.618…, Phi is an irrational number, which means that the decimal portion goes on infinitely without repeating. So, any simple numerical expression is just an estimate and does not represent the true meaning of the number.

Phi represents a particular ratio of segments. If we take the regular pentagram (composed of lines of equal length) on the right. The ratios of red:green, green:blue, and blue:pink are all equal to Phi.

If we imagine that the year is a line that is 365.25 days long, we can divide it into two segments whose ratio to each other is Phi. Dividing at Day 226 gives us the ratio 226/139.25 = 1.623*.

The 226th day of a regular calendar year is 14 August*. Happy Phi Day!

*Ideally, we’d go for Day 225.75, which is 6PM on 14 August, but then we’d have to decide on a time zone.

**In a regular year, 226/139 = 1.625. In a leap year, 14 August is Day 227, which gives us 227/139 = 1.633. 13 August is a bit better in a leap year (226/140 = 1.614); but I think there is something to be said for a consistent day on the calendar.

Happy Phi Day!

Also known as the Golden Ratio and purported to show up in, well, everything that anybody is willing to measure and then generously round the numbers in the correct direction, φ is equal to 1.618039887…

Finding a day for π is a piece of cake. 3.14 is March 14. Easy. Finding a day for φ, rounded off to 1.62, is a wee bit challenging. Continue reading “Happy Phi Day!”