Happy Pi Day!

Mar 14, 2019 | Crowfoot

March 14th is the annual π (pi) day celebration. The day corresponds to the first 3 digits of pi, 3.14 which is why it is celebrated on the 14th day of the third month (3/14).

The number pi has been used since 250 BC when Archimedes created an algorithm for calculating it for practical purposes. We use it today most notably for calculating the area or volume of circles and spheres, but this little number also finds its way into complicated mathematical equations and theorems. The number has been defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.  You might be surprised to know that we are unable to find the true value of pi! It is an irrational number, meaning its decimal places go on to infinity with no repeating pattern. As humans we look for patterns naturally, so this number will remain a patternless phenomenon.

In 1665, Isaac Newton calculated the first 16 digits of pi, which is a big deal considering there were no computers. By the late twentieth century with the help of computers the number of calculated digits increased from 2000 to 500,000. Recently, in 2017 this record was broken by a Swiss scientist who computed pi to more than 22 trillion digits. (22,000,000,000,000 digits!!)  

This never-ending number is notorious for challenging students around the world to recite its digits by memory. The record is held by Rajveer Meena in India who on March 21, 2015 he was able to recite 70,000 decimal places! Rajveer wore a blindfold the entire 10 hours it took to recite all those numbers by memory!

Mathnasium recommends to celebrate the day by enjoying some circular foods and even some apple pie, after we finish our veggies of course!

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