Happy Pi Day!

Pi Day!

Pi Day!

As you might know, March 13th is \pi Day.  If you’re obsessive about these things, the \pi Second is March 14 at 1:59:26 p.m.   Today is a great day to eat a piece of pie (of course, every day is a great day to eat pie!).  Or, even better, you could tackle the pie themed Problem of the Month!

If you’re interested in \pi Day related stuff, you can also check out the Pie Day website which has T-shirts, the \pi Clock, and other cool stuff.

Some Fun Facts about \pi:

  1. There is the famous Indiana Pi Bill which was proposed in 1897 and among other things supposedly gave a way to square the circle despite the fact that mathematicians had proven it was impossible to square the circle in 1882.  It also proposed that \pi = 3.2.
  2. Everybody knows that the series \sum_{n>0} \frac{1}{n^2} converges, but in fact it Euler showed in 1735 that it converges to \pi ^{2}/6!
  3. Most people also know that \pi is irrational, some know it is transcendental, but nobody knows about the distribution of the digits 0,1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 in \pi.  That is, experimental evidence suggests that each digit appears 1/10 of the time, but nobody knows how to prove it!  In fact nobody even knows if all the digits occur infinitely often!
  4. \Pi has been calculated to a trillion digits and the Guinness-recognized record for remembered digits of π is 67,890 digits, held by Lu Chao, a 24-year-old graduate student from China.  But if you’d like to compute the circumference of any circle that fits in the observable universe to a precision comparable to the size of a hydrogen atom, then a mere 39 decimal places is sufficient!
  5. It’s not just a math constant, \pi appears in nature.  For example in Einstein’s Field Equations.

If you have some spare room in your brain, you can certainly fill it with the digits of \pi.  The secret, apparently, is the art of Piphilology:  memorizing a poem/story/etc. where each word has the number of letters equal to the next digit of \pi.  For example,

How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

Or, if you’re hardcore you can spend spring break memorizing the Cadaeic Cadenza!

pi_day_dinosaurs

Failure is just success rounded down.

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8 thoughts on “Happy Pi Day!

  1. I had never thought of 3/14 being Pi Day until my sister-in-law had to do a project for her Algebra class. They had to be creative and make pi t-shirts for a grade and wear them to school on Pi Day. We had a lot of fun with it and I ended up making a shirt as well. We now love to celebrate Pi Day even though we get called nerds. 🙂

  2. Someone informed me of Pi Day back in high school, but Pi Day was always on Spring break! But in about six years, it will be back during the school days as long as spring break doesn’t change. Then I will get to celebrate this day with my future students! Like Beth stated, it always gets kids interested in math. Have you heard of the pi rap song? It is quite entertaining. Just copy and paste this link to check it out: http://www.teachpi.org/music/rap.htm

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