March 14th is Pi Day!!!
Beginning geometry students might remember finding the area of a circle – pi x radius squared…. But, what is Pi (π) and why does it rate its very own day?
Pi is one of the most famous and mysterious of numbers. Defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to it’s diameter, Pi seems simple. However, it is an irrational number. An irrational number cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction and the decimal representation therefore never ends, nor does it ever settle into a permanent repeating pattern. Scientists have calculated billions of digits of Pi, starting with 3.14159265358979323…. with no end in sight. It could be calculated to infinity and there would be absolutely no way to know which number would come next.
Pi is not only irrational, it is also transcendental! A transcendental number is a number that is not a root of any algebraic equation having integral coefficients, as π or e. All transcendental numbers are irrational, but not all irrational numbers are transcendental. . .
Pi is used all around us every day – Christian Constanda, the University of Tulsa’s C.S. Oliphant professor of mathematical sciences, says, “Look at a football: when you compute the volume, then Pi gets involved in the formula.” Constanda also said, “If you drive through a puddle, creating a wave with the car, that involves Pi. If you see a tornado, that definitely involves Pi.”
Designers Cristian Ilies Vasile and Martin Krzywinski transformed the number pi into stunning works of art. Check out Martin’s website for an explanation of how he creates his amazing works.
Want to see what 100,00 digits of Pi look like? Go here.
Some Pi Day Fun Facts:
- In the Star Trek© television episode, Wolf in the Fold, Spock defeats an evil enemy in the Enterprise’s computer system. How? He ordered it to “compute to the last digit the value of pi.” Which we know can not be computed!
- The number 360 occupies the 360th position in the digits of Pi.
- Divide the length of a river – with all the bends and curves – by the length of the river would be “as the crow flies,” the average ration will be approximately Pi. Watch this youtube video for an explanation!
- In 2008 a crop circle with Pi embedded in it appeared near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, England.
Want to impress your friends with how many digits of Pi you can recite? Here is a song that should help you remember….
The Pi Song. Originally sung by Hard ‘N Phirm. Sept. 17, 2006
Take a look around today – how many instances of Pi can you find? Or sit and contemplate a piece of your favorite pie…
Just remember – you’d be irrational to not celebrate Pi Day!
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Posamentier, Alfred S. 2004. [Pi] : a biography of the world’s most mysterious number. Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books. Engineering Library QA484 .P67 2004
Maths has never looked so appealing! Oct. 3, 2013. dailymail.com
The Pi Song. Originally sung by Hard ‘N Phirm. Sept. 17, 2006. youtube.com
Mead, Wendy. March 13, 2015. Fascinating Facts About Pi Day & Birthday Boy Albert Einstein. A&E Television Network, LLC. Bio.
Rouse, Margaret. Definition : Transcendental Number. TechTarget. WhatIs.com
West, Marc. July 1, 2008. Pi appears in a crop circle. +plus magazine .
Interesting Facts about Pi. 2016. Buzzle.com
Walton, Rod. March 14, 2014. Pi common in everyday life, not just dessert. Tulsa World .
Swanson, Ana. March 14, 2015. 10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi. The Washington Post .
Martin Krzywinski Science Art. 1999-2018. Martin Krzywinski.
Stewart, Ian. 2013. Visions of infinity : the great mathematical problems. New York, NY : Basic Books. Engineering Library QA93 .S75 2013
Stewart, Ian. 2015. Professor Stewart’s incredible numbers. New York : NY : Basic Books. Engineering Library QA241 .S8123 2015
Happy Pi Day (3.14) Domino Spiral. March 13, 2011. youtube.com