Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day! Fun and Facts about Pi

Pi - you know it from all those boring math classes you had to take in school... But Pi is actually much cooler than math class.  Did you know that?  Also, today, March 14 is international Pi day!  No, not pie.  Though I think it is perfectly okay to celebrate Pi day with pie.

Why is it Pi day?  Well, simply because March 14 or 3/14 is the first three digits in the number Pi.  Technically, Pi day starts at 1:59 pm (since the next three digits after 3.14 is 159 [making the first 6 digits 3.14159]).

So, what is Pi?

Pi is simply defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle (technically a Euclidean circle - circumference is simply the length around the circle) to its diameter.  Remember diameter is just the straight line distance across a circle through its center.  Said less mathy - Pi is the number of times the diameter of a circle will wrap around the circumference.

Pi is also an irrational number.  That simply means it cannot be expressed as a simple fraction (like 22/7 for instance).  Therefore, when you write Pi as a decimal it never ends and it never repeats.  Crazy right?  It just keeps going on forever.

Some interesting facts about Pi:

  • Albert Einstein was born on Pi day - 3/14/1879
  • Pi has been studied for over 4000 years dating back to the Babylonians in approximated 2000 BC
  • Beginning at position 762 in Pi, there are six nines in a row.  This is called the Feynman point.
  • In 1897, the Indiana State Legislature tried to "square the circle," and therefore legislate the value of pi.
  • Pi occurs extensively in Physics (and other sciences) especially when a formula or problem has rotational or spherical symmetry involved.
Well, I am going to go and find out where I am going to eat pie for lunch today.  I am suddenly very hungry.  I leave you with a math joke:

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