March 14th is Pi Day! Why? Because the date resembles the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter—and that number begins with 3.14.
The word pi comes from the Greek letter “π”, which was used to express the number in the 18th century. However, Welsh mathematics teacher William Jones is often credited with the first use of the symbol in 1706.
The infinite number is exceptionally ancient. Researchers have found various civilizations calculating the approximations of pi, including Egyptians, Babylonians, and there is even a reference to the dimensions of a circle in the Bible. But the first calculation of pi as the number 3.14 is attributed to Greek mathematician, Archimedes of Syracuse, who lived in the third century B.C.
In 1988, physicist Larry Shaw organized a celebration at the San Francisco Exploratorium science museum to commemorate what is now known as “Pi Day”.
The U.S. House of Representatives even got involved in the celebration in 2009 when they passed a resolution designating March 14th as “National Pi Day” to hopefully encourage younger generations to pursue the study of mathematics.
What is so special about π?
Pi is a mathematical constant, meaning it isn’t changed by the size of the number it’s used to equate. It is an irrational number as it is made of an infinite number of digits that never repeat. Pi is the key to equations calculating the area of a circle, A=πr2, and the volume of a cylinder, V=πr2h.
With the advancement of computer technology, calculating the most digits in pi has become somewhat of a race between mathematicians. The current record is held by physicist Peter Trueb, who calculated pi to 22.4 trillion digits—22,459,157,718,361—just to be exact. This beat the previous record by 9 million digits.
However, only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab only uses 15 digits to calculate interplanetary travel, while mathematician, James Grime argues that 39 digits of pi is what is needed to calculate the circumference of the known universe.
Celebrating Pi Day
The pun-filled pi day is full of circular treats, like pies, pizzas, cakes, and cookies. Many dress up like Albert Einstein, whose birthday also happens to fall on the math filled day. And the San Francisco Exploratorium still hosts their annual day of pi celebration.
This irrational and transcendental number has become somewhat of a fun challenge to memorize for some.
So, go ahead! Try to memorize as much of pi as possible! Good luck, and Happy Pi Day!
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286 208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481 117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233 786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006 606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146 951941511609433057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548074462379962749 567351885752724891227938183011949129833673362440656643086021394946395224737190 702179860943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132000568127145263560827 785771342757789609173637178721468440901224953430146549585371050792279689258923 542019956112129021960864034418159813629774771309960518707211349999998372978049 951059731732816096318595024459455346908302642522308253344685035261931188171010 003137838752886587533208381420617177669147303598253490428755468731159562863882 353787593751957781857780532171226806613001927876611195909216420198938095257201 065485863278865936153381827968230301952035301852968995773622599413891249721775 283479131515574857242454150695950829533116861727855889075098381754637464939319 255060400927701671139009848824012858361603563707660104710181942955596198946767 837449448255379774726847104047534646208046684259069491293313677028989152104752 162056966024058038150193511253382430035587640247496473263914199272604269922796 782354781636009341721641219924586315030286182974555706749838505494588586926995 690927210797509302955321165344987202755960236480665499119881834797753566369807 426542527862551818417574672890977772793800081647060016145249192173217214772350 141441973568548161361157352552133475741849468438523323907394143334547762416862 518983569485562099219222184272550254256887671790494601653466804988627232791786 085784383827967976681454100953883786360950680064225125205117392984896084128488 626945604241965285022210661186306744278622039194945047123713786960956364371917 287467764657573962413890865832645995813390478027590099465764078951269468398352 595709825822620522489407726719478268482601476990902640136394437455305068203496…sorry we ran out of breath and had to stop…find the rest of the number here!