Happy Pi Day!

By Meera Dolasia on March 14, 2012

Happy 24th Pi Day! Yes we actually set aside a day to celebrate the numerical constant that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, on a flat plane surface. Why today? Because while Pi has been calculated to one trillion digits past the decimal point, we all simply recognize it as 3.14, which also happens to be, today's date.

Started in 1988 by San Francisco's Exploratorium museum to celebrate the importance of mathematics in our everyday lives, the date happens to coincide with Albert Einstein's birthday.

And in case you are wondering, it is not just celebrated by math geeks, but also, foodies who use it as an excuse to bake and eat delectable Pi(es), artists who create Pi bracelets, musicians who dream up Pi music and even corporations, like America's Ford Motor company who got into the spirit by posing a total of 42 math equations on Reddit.com, one every 3.14 minute.

So why are we all so fascinated with this mathematical number? Apparently, because it is a mystery even to mathematicians who tried to crack Pi's code with the help of super computers. However, even after calculating it to the trillionth decimal place, they were unable to find a pattern or an end to it.

And, while Pi day is just twenty four years old, the number itself is almost 4,000 years old. The ancient Babylonians first calculated the area of a circle by taking 3 times the square of its radius, giving Pi the value of 3. They later got close to the real number with an approximation of 3.124. Egyptian mathematicians overestimated the value slightly, arriving at a number of 3.165 in 1650 BC. However, given that these ancient cultures came up with their approximations using simple measurement tools, the results were pretty impressive.

The first person to actually calculate Pi mathematically was one of ancient world's most brilliant mathematicians, Archimedes of Syracuse. However, he was smart enough to realize that his number was also an approximation and concluded that Pi could vary between 3 1/7 and 3 10/71. The fascination of calculating this elusive number accurately has continued since then and so far, no-one seems to have cracked the code!

Happy Pi Day! Be sure to let us know if you did anything special to celebrate this fun day.

Resources: latimes.com, now.msn.com,exploratorium.edu

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230 Comments
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  • jamaicalove
    jamaicaloveWednesday, April 9, 2014 at 7:36 am
    All some
    • :-)Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm
      That was amazing!!!!!!!!!!
      • winter
        winterMonday, July 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm
        My teacher forgot to tell us to bring pie...so no pie for pi day
        • jamaicalove
          jamaicaloveWednesday, April 9, 2014 at 7:38 am
          Beter luck next time
        • RangerThursday, October 25, 2012 at 11:57 am
          I love pi day!
          • TFriday, October 5, 2012 at 7:47 am
            that is cool/awesome
            • cupcake1
              cupcake1Monday, August 20, 2012 at 7:06 am
              i luv math was tecnicol i love it vwhoooooooooo
              • dandelion
                dandelionSaturday, June 23, 2012 at 1:22 am
                I agree with J. S. It has to be hard, Jenny.
                • kevirino
                  kevirinoThursday, June 7, 2012 at 8:31 am
                  I like pie. Mmmm pumpkin pie.
                  • cahill74
                    cahill74Monday, May 28, 2012 at 11:13 am
                    i also like apple pie
                    • cutiepie12
                      cutiepie12Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 8:03 am
                      me too
                    • cahill74
                      cahill74Monday, May 28, 2012 at 11:13 am
                      math is my favorite subject. Go PI dAY!

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