In Praise of Pi…

7 years ago, I received a Facebook event invitation. I thought it was a cool idea, so I responded that I would go. The only catch? The even was happening in March of 2015.

In fact, it’s today.

pi-day-2015Titled, “The only real Pi Day of our Lives”, the event was an awareness campaign that on March 13, 2015, specifically at 9:26 am, we would exist in the digits of the mathematical giant, pi. That little symbol that demystifies circles, pi is an important part of math, physics, astronomy, engineering, the list goes on. It is both irrational and transcendental and may have been used as far back as the construction of the pyramids in Giza.

In the spirit of pi day, here are some facts you might not know about pi (courtesy of the International Business Times)

  • The symbol for pi arrived in 1706 when William Jones used the Greek letter to represent the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. The symbol is not really a symbol – it is the first letter of the word periphery – ‘περιφέρεια’.
  • Pi is an irrational number in that its decimal value goes on forever, never repeating. Its value has been calculated to more than 2.7 trillion digits.
  • Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day – he was born 14 March 1879.
  • Most of the trillions of digits in pi are not needed. Just 39 digits allows you to measure the circumference of the observable universe.

So here’s to you, pi. After seven years, thanks for finally getting that Facebook event off my calendar!

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