Crop circle contains encoded math formula

By | May 25, 2010

When I saw the Wilton Windmill crop circle, reported on 22nd May, I was immediately struck by the possibility of a message encoded in 8-bit binary.

After transcribing the binary digits from Lucy Pringle’s photo (the photo here is by Steve Alexander), I duly translated each byte into its corresponding ASCII character, starting from the windmill and working clockwise.

e^(hi)pi)1=0

It looked like some kind of equation, and when I looked it up, Google asked if I meant: e^(i)pi)1=0, for which the top result was Euler’s identity: e+1=0. This has been called “the most beautiful theorem in mathematics”. No surprise that it should turn up in a crop circle then!

Now, I’m not much of a mathematician, so I don’t know anything about the odd way of writing the formula as expressed in the crop circle, and in Google, but I assumed that, for the circle-maker, it was a handy way to get around the limitations of ASCII text.

One thing bothered me though, and that was the inclusion of the anomalous ‘h’ in the message/formula. Certainly it made up the number of characters to twelve, which would make the crop circle easier to produce on the ground and more windmill-like, as well as referencing a highly symbolic number. Also, with the adjacent ‘i’, it makes ‘hi’ – an embedded message from the maker?

It was only when James Gilliland suggested in this Facebook thread that ‘h’ could be a reference to the Planck constant, that I realised what could be the full meaning of the embedded message.

Could it be a subtle joke on all the croppies who might pronounce this a ‘genuine’ crop circle as opposed to a circle made with a plank?!

This animated explanation of the 2010 Wilton Windmill crop circle design that I put together should make everything clear!