Happy Pi Day!
Every year, we at The Mudflats tip our hat to the most beautiful, ever-changing, unpredictable, indispensable number that ever was: Pi.
People love Pi all the time. My kid’s school even has garden shrine to Pi outside the front door. The revered letter stands proud and tall, with flowers at its feet, standing as a wise and silent sentinel as eager young minds pass by on their way to stimulate the grey matter.
Today is “Pi Day.” March 14 = 3/14 = 3.14 = pi. Roughly. And it’s time to love Pi, even a little more than we usually do.
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. You’re getting 5. 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.
It makes grown men and women of the mathematical persuasion start to wax poetic, and make jokes. It’s a number even an English major could love.
Pi is actually
… and on, and on – infinitely and 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 fractionm/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 hide your nerdiness under a bushel. 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. Naturally.
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: