Pi and trees!

We live in an area that has many trees and I can imagine that, a few hundred years ago, it could well have been heavily forested around here. While we do appreciate trees, it is so easy to take them for granted. There are so many people who never think about them, except perhaps when complaining about the root structure interfering with their garden, or perhaps the shedding that happens in the Fall.

Carol and I were sitting out in our back garden, and Ray had curled up under a plant to stay cool. We had been discussing “our” tree (a huge Maple) at the bottom of our garden in the context of its size, and the damage it could do if it fell down.

 

The conversation drifted to its dimensions, and we agreed that the trunk was probably a little over 5ft in diameter … which prompted the question “Can you remember how to calculate a circumference?” Therein followed speculations about n (where n = pi) r2 and 2nr.

The discussion moved to radius vs diameter … and generally confirmed to both of us that the “use it or lose it” perspective about life and aging is pretty accurate. Whereas both of us have regularly used math since leaving school so many years ago, it would appear thatΒ  neither of us have had cause to use pi in any calculations.

Having Googled for information about pi, the conversation came to the not too surprising question of “Can we now calculate the age of our Maple tree?” A quick request to Prof. Google and our tree, based on its circumference, is around 200 years old!

Believe it or not, the conversation continued because we now wanted to know what our location was like when the Maple seedling was rooting! Prof Google soon gave us a brief overview of our town in the early 1800’s, and there would appear to have been no development in our immediate area at that time. Perhaps “our tree” is one of the few survivors of a forest?

Pi , history and trees … who would have ever known!

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43 thoughts on “Pi and trees!

    • Hi Prajakta! The travel was an emotional roller coaster ride (Posts coming shortly), and the Summer? Love the heat but would like a bit less humidity. Not complaining though. I still love this climate. πŸ™‚

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  1. Great story, Colin. Amazing that we can calculate the age of a tree based solely on the circumference of its trunk (maybe certain kinds of trees have fatter rings than others). The last time I used Pi was during my Weight Watcher days. The reference book told how many points were in a 7″ (personal) pizza at Donato’s, and I wanted to know what portion of a 14″ (large) pizza that equated to. The answer is (drumroll, please…) one personal pizza equals 1/4 of a large pizza. Just FYI, never know when that will come in handy. πŸ™‚

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  2. I think you already know how good I am at figuring out Pi, I would prefer a piece of pie instead. πŸ™‚
    It is funny at how conversations can lead in so many different directions . Interesting about the tree being that old! Too bad it can’t speak and tell you how life was as a young sapling .
    I am thinking that Ray wasn’t interested in the conversation, he looks like he is very cozy.

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  3. Interesting. I’ve never thought of using pi to calculate the age of a tree. That’s a lucky maple tree you have, to have survived this long. Hopefully it will continue to survive for at least a few more decades before it comes crashing down.

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