Happy Pi Day! That is, happy March 14!
Today we celebrate pi, a symbol used in math to equal the ratio of a circle’s circumference (the distance around) to its diameter (a straight line passing through the center of the circle and touching both sides).
Pi equals approximately 3.14159265359; but, as pi is what’s known as an irrational number, it in fact goes on forever!
Figures almost equal to 3.14 have been used to measure objects for centuries.
The ancient Babylonians, around 2,000 B.C., guessed pi to be 3.125—pretty close!
A paper called the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, which scientists guess dates back to the mid-1600s B.C., is also quite close to the actual value—the scribe, or writer, who wrote the paper guessed pi to equal 3.16049—pretty close, again!
Pi is seen all over the ancient world. In fact, the perimeter (the distance around) of the base of the Great Pyramid in Egypt, divided by twice its height, equals 3.1432—or, “the most exact known value of π pi in the ancient world,” according to Montclair State University’s Dr. Richard W. Franke.
This is, of course, just the beginning.
Petr Beckmann, in his book “A History of Pi,” writes that it wasn’t until William Jones in 1706 that a mathematician used the Greek letter π to mean the digits of pi. Yet, it wasn’t until nearly 30 years later that all mathematicians accepted and used π as a symbol in their work.
With such an epic history, it is no wonder this day is cause for celebration around the world!
How will you celebrate pi day?