Happy Pi Day!
Happy Pi Day, everyone! The post below is actually recycled from last year’s Pi Day. But rather than confess to you that it’s a lot easier and quicker to repost this one, than to write a new one, I’m going to come at this from the angle that just as pi is eternally, beautifully constant, so will be my annual Pi Day post. It’s not laziness… it’s simply an homage to the great unchanging gloriousness that is pi. (How’d I do? That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it!)
I was reminded this morning that today is “Pi Day.” March 14 = 3/14 = 3.14 = pi. Roughly.
How could I have forgotten?
I have always loved pi. I remember the day I learned about pi. It was the same day I learned about negative numbers – a banner day, mathematically speaking, for a kid with a giant blackboard and a big brother who was a math major.
So many other numbers just seem to conform. They are predictable and knowable. With 5, you know exactly what you’re getting. But pi is an anomaly. It is deliciously significant in the fabric of things. You need it to figure out the nuts and bolts of a simple circle, for goodness sake. But pi itself stands outside the metaphorical circle, and defies anyone to really figure it out. You can know what it is, but you can never really know IT. It can’t even be memorized. It is irrational, and proud of it. It is transcendental, mathematically and conceptually. Among numbers it is King. Or Queen. Or Court Jester.
Pi is actually
3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679 8214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196 4428810975665933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273 724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609...
… and on, and on – infinitelyand without pattern. Take that.
So, if I’d been thinking, I might have made note of today at 1:59am plus 26 and a half seconds as “pi moment.” I wonder if anyone paid attention in 1592 when the date was 3/14/1592 – a full on, “in-your-face” pi day.
π (sometimes written pi) is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle‘s circumference to its diameter in Euclidean space; this is the same value as the ratio of a circle’s area to the square of its radius. It is approximately equal to 3.141593 in the usual decimal notation. (snip)Many formulae from mathematics, science, and engineering involve π, which is one of the most important mathematical and physical constants.
π is an irrational number, which means that its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction m/n, where m and n are integers. Consequently, its decimal representation never ends or repeats. It is also a transcendental number, which implies, among other things, that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) can be equal to its value; proving this was a late achievement in mathematical history and a significant result of 19th century German mathematics. Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been much effort to determine π more accurately and to understand its nature; fascination with the number has even carried over into non-mathematical culture.
So, now what? How does one celebrate this special day? Before you just go the safe route and march around in a circle reciting digits, check out this web page which lists all sorts of fun ways to celebrate Pi Day. This is not a time to hold back your geekiness. Today you get to wear it like a badge. Let it out of the closet, and go for a run for pi miles – you’ll never know when you hit it, but when you’ve gone 3.2 miles, you’ve gone too far. Bake a pie, throw a pie, rent the movie Pi, or have a pi-zza pie.
And as if this was not enough to get your inner mathemetician all a-twitter, you can raise a glass of pi-napple juice and give a toast to Albert Einstein whose birthday was today.
So, Happy Pi Day to you all. I’m going to celebrate by eating something out of my pi plate. Yes, I really have one just like this: