A day to celebrate all things round
3.1415926535897932. . .
Approximated as 3.14, the Greek letter for pi is an irrational (cannot be written as a simple fraction), an infinite (continues forever), a non-repeating, a transcendental (incapable of being the root of an algebraic equation with rational coefficients) number. Pretty impressive for the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet.
Here's the breakdown:
Pi's Beginnings (Pi, Unbaked)
Some cheerleaders of pi trace its beginnings to the Old Testament where, in 1 Kings 7:23, Solomon casts a large vessel of specific dimensions: 30 cubits high and 10 cubits across, arguably an early reference to the ratio that will later be known as pi. Sometime during the third century B.C., Archimedes (287-212 BC) used polygons to approximate the measurement of pi, accurate to two decimal places. Meanwhile, the Babylonians, Egyptians, and the Chinese all had their hands in the pi. . .but it wasn't until the 18th century that pi was written as we know it today: a designation attributed to William Jones in 1706 and popularized by Leonhard Euler beginning in 1737.
Honorable Pi (No More Humble Pi)
In the 111th Congress, in House Resolution 224, humble pi became just a little more honorable (excerpt):
March 12, 2009.
Whereas the Greek letter (Pi) is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter;
Whereas the ratio Pi is an irrational number, which will continue infinitely without repeating, and has been calculated to over one trillion digits;
Whereas Pi is a recurring constant that has been studied throughout history and is central in mathematics as well as science and engineering;
Whereas America needs to reinforce mathematics and science education for all students in order to better prepare our children for the future and in order to compete in a 21st Century economy;
Whereas Pi can be approximated as 3.14, and thus March 14, 2009, is an appropriate day for "National Pi Day": Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) supports the designation of a "Pi Day" and its celebration around the world;
(2) recognizes the continuing importance of National Science Foundation's math and science education programs; and
(3) encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.
This marked official acknowledgment of a day that had been celebrated since at least 1988, when an employee of San Francisco's Exploratorium, Larry Shaw, first started the Pi Day tradition. Now Pi Day is celebrated all over the world on March 14 (3/14).
The year 2015 was extra special. An observation by M. Ratna Prabhu in India, who posted on piday.org, illustrates just what the "Pi Bonanza Year" 2015 represented:
Interesting Pi Facts (Bits and Bytes about Pi)
Ways to Celebrate Pi Day (Have Your Piece of the Pi)