Pi (2008), an irrational film, will screen this Friday

Pi (1998),
written and directed by Darren Aronofsky,
will be screened this Friday (May 2).

The theme for our May films is, “The Universe in Three Acts”, and each of the three films we are discussing this month deals with a particular approach to trying to understand the fundamental nature of our universe. Those of us who have been to The Grand Cinema to see Particle Fever (closes on Thursday so don’t delay if you have not yet seen it), saw one approach: Empirical Science. The physicists depicted in that documentary were using sophisticated equipment to manipulate and make measurements of physical particles.

But the origins of some truths about properties of our physical universe come, not from empirical observations, but from the nonphysical realm of ideas. For example, there are many historical examples where the seemingly mysterious operation of mathematical equations makes predictions about properties of the universe that later turn out to be correct. To give just one example, Dirac found mathematical solutions to a set of equations that were thought to represent physical reality, but his solutions required negative values. When a few scientists conjectured that these mathematical solutions might actually apply within the realm of the physical world, the physicist Heisenberg characterized those ideas as coming from “the saddest day in the history of physics.” Then antimatter was discovered.

Going as far back as the Pythagorean School in ancient Greece, there was a belief that what is ultimately real has to do with perfect mathematical ideas, not the physical universe. And some mathematical concepts, such as Pi, are irrational! So this week we invite you to come along for an irrational ride as we watch Darren Aronofsky’s film Pi (1998). And for the math-phobic, we promise, no mathematical equations will need to be solved to enjoy this film.

We will be screening Pi this Friday (May 2) at 7:15pm at The Center for Spiritual Living (CSL), located at 206 South J Street, at the corner of Division & J, across from the Group Health Hospital. Come early at 6:30 pm and join us for socializing before the screening. Feel free to bring food (appetizers) and drink (including wine) to share. And bring along your irrational friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, cinephiles, science geeks, and others to watch Pi on CSL’s new, improved projection equipment.

Ron Boothe

One thought on “Pi (2008), an irrational film, will screen this Friday

  1. A Universe of Numbers:
    Aronofsky made his first film Pi with a budget of $60k. His latest movie Noah cost 2000xPi. Are these rational numbers? The Higgs Boson was measured to be 125 GeV/c2. If it shifts to 132 our multitude of universes will disappear. One theory has it that all there is came out of nothing, and not a singular point source of “stuff”. So then would it all have been back to a weightless once upon a time dream? The mind spins in irrational circles!

    Maran chickens lay 175 eggs a year (epy) compared to 200 epy for the Buff Orpington breed; the Rhode Island Red weighs in with a whopping 350 epy. What comes first, these chicken breeds or their 725 elliptically formed eggs? We chickens can cross that road when we come to it, but there’s not enough evidence right now.

    People go silly taking Pi out to an irrational number of decimal points when just simply saying 3 1/7 gets you kind of close. But if that where true, that 22/7 is acceptably accurate as a solution to Pi, we would have something rational on our hands and we don’t. Pi and life on Earth and some types of numbers in math and probably the whole shebang of multi universes are determinably irrational. It’s an uncanny deck that’s delivering the cards!

    It takes that experience of 365 sunsets to travel around our old Sol. When one of us humans dies our departing soul tips the scale at 21grams. Is such soulful measure a small or large bit of relief to the gunnysack of our Sol linked burdens? The life span of humans and all amphibians, birds, fish and mammals is 1 billion heartbeats chiming in with their relentless tic tocks. If accident takes a life away prematurely is there a complementary universe out there where missing beats are fudged back in to meet design specs in the Grand maker’s tally?

    The average apple tree can squeeze out 100,000 apples worth of pies in its productive life and we can only wonder why. Eve only needed one to set the trials of life in motion. Is it rational to think that all these extra apples are there simply for the making of pies? Is this abundance of apple pie rational? Numbers determine the human experience and in the movie Pi a mad mathematical genius takes on the task of finding their root. Will Aronofsky’s story come full circle? What happens as Pi ‘s endless string on irrational numbers approaches infinity? Will we forever wonder at the irrational nature of Pi or will we take a stand with from one to five stars? According to the bureau of incomplete statistics it’s 9 out of 10 they-don’t-know-whats. In terms of irrational statistics it’s Pi over the square root of two.

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