Figure 1: Barbury Castle crop circle denoting Pi. Crop Circle photos and reports courtesy The Crop Circle Connector.
If we are to believe the latest signs from outer space, the local aliens are keen mathematicians.
A new crop circle appeared on the 1st of June this year in a barley field near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, England, measuring 150 feet in diameter and correctly representing the first 10 digits of the irrational constant pi.
If you look at figure 1, you will notice that the grooves in the circle spiral outwards with steps at various points along the way. Taking a look now at figure 2, you will see that these steps occur at particular angles — the circle is divided into 10 equal segments of 36 degrees each. Starting at the centre, you can see that the first section is 3 segments wide. Then there is a step and underneath this step is a small circle. This is the decimal point. The next section is 1 segment wide and then there is another step. The following section is 4 segments wide, and so on until the final number encoded is 3.141592654. Michael Reed, the astrophysicist who first decoded the image, is quoted on earthfiles.com as saying:
"The fact that the Pi decimal point is included and there is rounding up to 10 decimal places is to me a little mind boggling!"
The location of the new Pi crop circle is 51.488258 degrees north, 1.771964 west, but unfortunately it has not yet appeared on Google maps.
Figure 2: Right image shows the circle divided into 10 equal segments. The number of segments moved through at each step, starting from the centre, denotes a decimal point of Pi. Left image courtesy The Crop Circle Connector.
This latest crop circle has appeared on the eve of the new X-files movie I want to believe and has created quite a storm amongst crop circle enthusiasts. Lucy Pringle, a crop circle researcher, was quoted in The Scotsman as finding it hard to believe such an intricate crop circle could have been created by humans, and whilst there was rain the night before it appeared, there was no mud inside the formation.
"You can do it on a computer, but you try putting that in a field in the middle of the night and achieving that degree of mathematical accuracy."
Pringle's theory is that crop circles are created by a spiralling electromagnetic force that hits the ground for a nanosecond.
Local councillor Stewart Dobson said: "It's hard to believe somebody managed to work (the design) out so it shows pi so accurately. It's either a very educated person who has done it or a very educated alien." Plus tends to think that an alien capable of making it millions of light years across the Universe to visit us is more than likely to have some understanding of pi...
The Julia set crop circle. Image courtesy The Crop Circle Connector.
It is not the first time mathematics has appeared in a crop circle. Indeed, whether it's the nerdy nature of crop circle fraudsters, or because aliens choose maths as a method of communication because of its fundamental role in the Universe, mathematical patterns are fairly common. One of the best-known mathematical crop circles appeared in the form of the Julia set 12 years ago, again in Wiltshire, near Stone Henge.
For the latest buzz on this crop circle, and to have a peek at all the theories regarding it, see crop circle connector. And whatever caused these mathematical imprints on the face of the Earth, always remember, the truth is out there.
Is it not a grammatical standard that numbers continued with an ellipsis are not rounded?
This Pi Day page does not round Pi: http://www.piday.org/
"Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535…"
(more Pi = 3.1415926535897932384626433832795...)
So ... how significant is the crop circle's rounding of Pi followed by an ellipsis?
Good point. Maybe it isn't an ellpsis. (I mean it; I promise I'm not just being a smart alek.) Anyone have ideas on what else the three dots at the end could be?
The circles on the end could be (and im going by a couple different things here) more numbers, letters even inside the numbers (1=a 2=b) they could also be just part of alien art... i mean why do we create art, we use math in art such as a ruler, french curve, compass..
I waled the dogs in the big fields (a few acres) the horses had been moved on and I found some oblong and round flattened space in the waste high grass, I thought it may have been a deer getting through the fencing a bedding down for the night but there was so many flattened areas and the deer always leave a path through the grass, it was after a storm, could it have been wind and rain?? It has happened a lot!!
If they represented ..., why are they not of same size? That is not just an art as someone was saying, aliens and intelligent people don't construct anything without proportion or geometry.. (very much unlike humans these days, who do useless stuff and make a meaning out of it).
The fact that the decimal number system including place value and decimal point is used to represent the number PI is a clear sign that the image was man made, or at least created by an "intelligence" that knows that and how we are using it. That makes it all the more suspect that such as clumsy method is used to transfer a message, if you can speak of a message at all when an approximation of a number that everybody can look up is written in the field.
"Why are supposed aliens using the decimal system?" was my first thought as well!
'Why are supposed aliens using the decimal system?' is a fair question.
It should firstly be pointed out that the idea there are only two possible explanations for the appearance of crop circles, aliens or people with planks, is a strangely limited but persistent choice, and quite extreme ends of a spectrum.
But anyway, within that framework, the question is referencing the concept that humans use Base 10 as a standard due to the fact that we have 10 fingers, making decimal an arbitrary base other than through a biological starting point.
But is that the only substantial explanation for favouring base 10 ?
Base 10 is found in a decagon. In geometry construction, to divide a circle into ten equal segments and draw a decagon the length of the chord, or straight line between each poin on the circumference, is the radius length multiplied by 0.6181.. or Phi, the Golden Ratio.
These are two universal constants, and with the sine function they produce base 10.
And that gives rise to the possibility that it's not so much that we use Base 10 because we have ten fingers, but rather we have ten fingers because base 10 is inherent in Pi by Phi when we use the sine function.
This of course gives no explanation about the origins of crop circles, but it does give a reason for why supposed aliens would note base 10
My understanding in the last four thousand years since we've had pi it had never been shown two-dimensionally.