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National Pi Day~

March 11, 2013
By Maja Bursac of Thomas Nelson HS


Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

It is also found that this day is the birthday of Albert Einstein (born on March 14, 1879), a physicist. This day is also referred to as 3.14, so it is strongly suspected that there is a combination of these two days, which is why someone would declare this day as March 14th. Critics who believe differently argue that as their opponent’s evidence is reasonable, “Pi,” however, was around long before Einstein was born.

~History of Pi:

By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits passed its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits. Today is the perfect day for students to explore Pi, and maybe enjoy some pie while they’re at it! That’s all for now Generals, I’ll post again next week! :)

*For more information, please visit: http://www.piday.org/learn-about-pi/

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