Thursday, March 13, 2008

π Day

Tomorrow is March 14, (3/14) also known as Pi day. I'm posting this today so you'll have time to plan all your Pi Day activities, and to scoop any other bloggers that might have been thinking of a Pi Day post for Friday. :) The value 3.14 is often used as a coarse approximation of pi. Another common approximation is 22/7 but the 22nd of July hasn't really caught on as a pi day.

You'll remember from school that the Greek symbol π or "pi" is used to represent the the irrational number that results from dividing the circumference of a circle by its diameter. It is one of the most important mathematical constants, and is included in many scientific and engineering equations. You may not need to use pi very often in your daily life, but an amazing number of things you use daily would not exist without an understanding of pi.

How many digits of pi do you have memorized? Be careful with your answer. I've heard that the number of pi decimal places you can recite is a measure of nerdiness. I'll admit to knowing 5 decimal places, which is probably about 3 more than average.

Here's an interesting attempt to create music from pi. The digits 1234567890 were mapped to the notes CDEFGABCDE, and played on a piano. Chords were chosen to complement the melody.

The Pi(ano) Song:

And one Pi joke: What do you get when you divide the circumference of a bowl of ice cream by its diameter? Pi à la mode.


Danny said...

"How many digits of pi do you have memorized?" - D.H.

I've got the first 12 digits confidently memorized. Sometimes I can remember the first 15, othertimes I get confused a bit after the first 12.

Julie said...