Pi Day 2018: Spock Uses Pi to Kill an Evil Computer on 'Star Trek'
Spock rarely kills anyone in the original Star Trek, but when he does, he uses the deadliest of all weapons: math. In the original series episode “The Wolf in the Fold,” Spock used Pi to kill a demonic computer.
On Tuesday, as the world celebrated Pi Day (3.14) we keep forgetting that at some future date in the 23rd century, the starship Enterprise will need Pi to defeat a disembodied alien ghost that once lived on Earth as Jack the Ripper. Because Pi is an irrational and transcendental number, calculating all of its digits is pretty much impossible, but that fact makes it a valuable weapon if you’re trying to defeat a runaway computer. In the classic Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold,” Spock used the uniqueness of Pi to get the crew out of a deadly dilemma.
The premise of this episode involves a disembodied, immortal, and evil alien consciousness briefly talking over the central computer of the starship Enterprise. This naturally puts the entire crew and the population of planet Argelius II in extreme danger. But the evil spirit still has to conform to the rules of the computer which is the loophole Spock needs to defeat it. He gives the haunted computer this order: “Compute to the last digit, the last value of Pi,” causing it to scream in agony. So, as the entire world celebrates Pi Day today (3.14) never forget the heroic usefulness of this never-ending number.
Because Spock might appear in the next season of Star Trek: Discovery, we can only hope that he and his step-sister Michael Burnham are given a chance to use math to thwart alien spirits from the distant past.