Nights for Thursday 28 May 2009

7 pm News & Weather

7:15 Death Of Dinosaurs

Professor Gerta Keller - professor of geosciences, Princeton University

Were volcanoes from the Deccan plateau in India responsible for the mass extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period rather than the more commonly held theory of a giant meteorite striking Mexico?

7:30 Spectrum:

People, places and events in New Zealand.

8 pm News & Weather

8:15 Windows on the World:

International public radio documentaries.

8:45 Primarily Numbers - mathematics

Dr Dennis McCaughan - mathematician, University of Otago.

Bryan and Dennis will continue their discussion on Pi. The number we use to determine the circumference of a circle, it's area, and many other geometrical things.

Pi itself is difficult to pin down. It's an "irrational number" which means its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction. Consequently, its decimal representation never ends or repeats.

Here it is calculated to about 1000 decimal places.

Decimals of Pi (PDF)

Finding Pi is easy on a calculator; it normally has its own button! It wasn't so easy for ancient mathematicians.

Dennis sent us illustrations to show early attempts to find the number - one of the most important in the mathematical world.

Pi and Polygons (PDF)

8:59 Conundrum: Clue 7

9 pm News & Weather

9:06 Our Changing World:

Radio New Zealand's science and environment programme.

9:59 Conundrum: Clue 8

10 pm News & Weather

10:17 Late Edition:

A review of the leading news from Morning Report, Nine to Noon, Afternoons and Checkpoint. Also hear the latest news from around the Pacific on Radio New Zealand International's Dateline Pacific.

11 pm News & Weather

11:06 The Music Mix:

Music, talk, live sessions, and coverage of contemporary music and events.