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Special Blog: Happy Pi Day!

March 14, 2012

Torah Kachur

The day we have all been waiting for... March 14th. So much better than Christmas or April Fool's, or even 4/20.

Because the fourteenth of March is Pi Day.

Pi, also known as Archimedes Constant, is a wonderful little number that represents the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference and has been a pain in our butts since learning geometry. What is pi? Pi is a number that is both irrational and transcendental - in other words - Pi is a woman.

Pi is, roughly: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288...and so on....and so forth...and on...and on...and on... It has recently been calculated to a record 2.7 trillion digits, which would take someone about 85,000 years to recite if they said a number a second.

Calculating pi has been a fascination, not for the mathematical certainty of a constant or the romance of discovering a fundamental principle of nature, but because ...well...why not.

Using pi to 40 decimal places is sufficient to calculate the circumference of a circle the size of our universe to within one hydrogen atom. So clearly calculating pi to 2.7 trillion digits is purely an exercise in mental gymnastics. This branch of mathematics is called arbitrary-precision mathematics, which, to most normal English speaking humans would be a massive oxymoron.

It's surprising how cool Pi actually is. It's just a number and has been observed as a universal constant for over 2000 years and yet, it is still a complete mystery that even our biggest computers can't calculate.

All this talk about pi is making me hungry.

Torah kachur Simpsons pi Science in seconds pi day

originally posted March 14th, 2010

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