Today is one of the few days when the nerd geek wanna-be in me surfaces…
It’s National Pi Day – the day we celebrate that wonderful irrational number.
Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.
Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.
- Want to see Pi to one million digits? Go here.
- Want to find your birthday in Pi?
- When Congress got involved, it took a little fun out of the day.
Pi didn’t earn its name until the 18th century, when Welsh mathematician William Jones started using it symbol ( “π”, the first letter in the Greek word for perimeter). In Medieval Latin it was known as quantities, in quam cum multiplicetur diameter, proveniet circumferential, or “the quantity which, when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference.” What a mouthful. Not as easy as pi. (from Wired magazine, by Matthew Hutson).
The average sinuosity of a river (its length as the fish swims divided by its length as the crow flies) is pretty close to pi. Why? Water on the outside of the bend erodes the bank, while slow-moving water on the inside of the curve deposits silt. Eventually the shape morphs into a loop – until an overflow cuts off the detour, straightening the curve. Rinse and repeat. (from Wired magazine, by Matthew Hutson).
Finally, Albert Einstein was born on Pi day – March 14, 1879.
How much more geeky can you get than that?
Have a piece of Pi!