Not an ordinary day
March 14th, or 3.14, is not an ordinary day (if you follow the silly US date system anyway). Today is the 30th International Pi Day, celebrating the mathematical constant ‘𝛑’.
At this moment in time, Twitter is going into overdrive as people realise that not only is today Albert Einstein’s birthday, but Stephen Hawking passed away on this sacred day too. Coincidence?
You’ll probably remember learning about Pi at school (maybe). There’s always been mystery surrounding it, appearing across disciplines such as chemistry, physics and maths.
Going round in circles
Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference, equal to its diameter. It’s used to calculate the circumference, diameter and area of a circle, among other things. Pretty handy.
Some fun 𝛑 facts:
- 𝛑 is shortened to 3.14159 or 3.14
- 𝛑 is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet. The symbol was used after the 1700s to represent Pi
- There are no occurrences of the sequence ‘123456’ in the first million digits of Pi
- Pi is so far calculated to have 22 trillion digits (but said to be infinite)
Pi day seems to be mostly celebrated in the US, and associated with food (like most things are). There are Pi parties, pie throwing and lots of American fast food chains roll out offers to get a slice of pizza or pie for $3.14. For added geekery, MIT often send out application decision letters to students on Pi Day, apparently.
Sadly, in the UK we don’t get any pie discounts (that I know of. Hit up the comments if you know of any!) Instead, we just get maths problems from The Guardian. But, at least the Google Doodle is pretty cool today.
Now I’m hungry.