posted on Jun, 5 2012 @ 11:33 AM
MUNICH -- A mathematics professor at the University of Munich has recently devised a new system of measuring angles, set to take the world by
"Historically we've always split the circle into 360 increments or degrees. Why 360?" asks Dr. Siegfried Winkel. "The prime factorization of 360
is 2 times 2 times 2 times 3 times 3 times 5, which gives it the property that it is divisible by 1 to 6, as well as 8 and 10. Those were very useful
fractions of the circle, and thus it greatly simplified calculations."
He then goes on to explain. "However, 360 is rather arbitrary, don't you think? One of my graduate students noted that we could just as easily use
the number 120, which is the factorial of 5 or the product of the numbers 1 to 5. This number has the same desired divisibility properties: divisible
by 1 to 6, as well as 8 and 10. The extra factor of 3 in the 360 doesn't really add much except perhaps making the circle easily divisible by 9 --
and how often does one need to do that?" More explanation and context can be found in his paper Über die Arbiträrkreisspaltung
or On the
Arbitrary Divisions of the Circle
Meanwhile, Russian amateur mathematician Vasily Ilyich Slavodkavich had the following to say: "360, 120, regardless of what you use, the number is a
mere construction of man, unable to capture the beauty that is mathematics. The circle was never meant to be divided at all. That is why we use a
special unit, the radian, to express the circle. All other angles are expressed in terms of the radian: pi radians, half pi radians, et cetera."
Unfortunately, Michael Hartl, the author of The Tau Manifesto
, could not be reached for comment. When questioned
about this matter he began to laugh uncontrollably and became unable to utter a single word.