Mathematicians have hypothesized that a river’s sinuosity (“how curvy” a river is in respect to its straight-line distance) averages out to pi. That is, if you take all the rivers in the world and take the averages of their length to distance covered in a straight line, you would get around 3.14. An example of how to calculate River Sinuosity is given below:
Is this surprising? Why might pi (which normally has to do with circles) find itself in river formations?
- Write a one-sentence hypothesis as to why pi might appear in river sinuosity.
- Watch the video embedded above. Write a one-paragraph response as to why scientists feel that pi might be discovered in the ways rivers are formed? Why is it only a hypothesis and not a certainty?
- Visit the website http://pimeariver.com/ Look at entry #64, our own Cumberland River. Calculate the sinuosity of the Cumberland by dividing it’s length by distance covered (this information can be found in the graph on the right-hand side of the page).