It just goes on and on and on forever. The world’s most famous mathematical constant is π or pi. π is an irrational number, that is, its digits randomly repeat infinately. π denotes the relationship between the circumference of a circle and its diameter. It is commonly rounded off to 3.14 or thereabouts.
π (pi) is so popular that it has not only one but several unofficial holidays. The most famous Pi Day is March 14th or 3/14 (US date format) because the first three digits of the date correspond to the first three digits of π.
The other alternative π days provide arcane fun for geeks. They include:
March 4th, when 14-percent of the 3rd month is elapsed.
April 5th, when 3.14 months of the year have passed.
April 26th or the 25th in leap years: The planet Earth has traveled two radians of its orbit then. Dedicated astronomy and math geeks celebrate it precisely on the 41st second of the 23rd minute of the 4th hour on the 116th day, April 26th. In leap years that is, the 3rd second of the second minute of the 12th hour on April 25th.
The Chinese approximation of π day is on the 355th day of the year, in December at 1:13 pm. The Chinese approximation of π equals 355/113.
Besides the regular Pi Day in March, we have the Approximation of Pi Day, today. The calendar format used by much of the world for July 22nd is 22/7. Try this, divide 22 by 7. My el cheapo Casio calculator shows 3.1428571… or a close approximation of π.
Many mathematicians and math geeks from around the world celebrate Approximation of Pi Day by participating in π themed activities and contests. Some of those include making or purchasing or decorating pies then eating them. Many geeks will nosh on pancakes, cookies, or doughnuts. More nuanced munchers will enjoy foods with names beginning with “pi” like pineapple or pizza, especially pizza because it is round.
Hardcore geeks enjoy the ceremonial viewing of Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller, “Pi”. See its trailer at: https://youtu.be/jo18VIoR2xU .
Right off the bat, I think of the circular tray in my microwave oven, the plates, off of which I eat, the tires on the car, and the circles I often doodle. How would our modern world cope without π?
If you know a math geek, you could ask to tag along to a π themed party, or throw a Pi Approximation Day party of your own.
Here’s a little known piece of mathematical etymology. π was chosen to denote this number because it is the first letter of the Greek word περίμετρος which translates to perimeter.
Happy Pi Approximation Day to you.