Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Pi Day Everyone!

Well, technically it happens tomorrow, but I won't be able to post on the weekend so we might as well get the celebrations kicking a day early. Pi day celebrates the achievements of the most famous of ratios, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The distance around the circle is just about three and one seventh times its diameter, 3.14 times to be more exact. 3.1415927 times to be even more exact, 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510... to be yet more exact, and so on. March 14th is always celebrated as Pi Day because it written out as 3/14 (this year it's offical for the first time). By a startling coincidence, it also happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday.

Pi is an irrational number, with an infinite number of decimal places and can't be written as a ratio of two whole numbers. It is unbelievably complex, our fastest supercomputers have been able to compute Pi out to over 1.3 trillion decimal places so far without any pattern emerging. Competitions are held for people to see who can memorize the most digits of Pi. (Currently the world record holder is Akira Haraguchi from Japan who was able to recite the first 100,000 digits of Pi from memory.)

To properly honor this important day I propose we do something to truly honor this great symbol, build a monument! Of course the monument would have to be round. For inspiration I was looking around on the internet for other round monuments when I noticed this rather interesting coincidence:

Is it just me or do the stones of Stonehenge already look a lot like the letter Pi on their own? That got me thinking. The monument we should build should take inspiration from these stone builders of ancient times. I'm thinking a huge ring of great granite Pi symbols with five big ones in a horseshoe shape in the middle, much like the real Stonehenge. The ancient builders oriented the structure so the sun rose between the biggest stones on the solstices. Borrowing that idea, our Pi-henge would line up so that the sun rose in the middle of the great stones on the 14th of March every year.


  1. wow dat was a gr8 blog.............

  2. Yayyy!!! Pi is perhaps the most important mathematical constant. It appears in various formulas throughout math and science in fields as diverse as physics, statistics, and sociology. Although pi is defined in terms of the geometry of a circle, most applications of this number do not directly involve circles.
    Pi also appears in many formulas not directly involving circles or spheres. For instance, the periods of all the trigonometric functions are either equal to pi or 2 pi. Although trig functions may be defined in terms of a circle, they are usually used in contexts not directly involving circles. Another place pi is widely used is in the normal distribution, which is commonly used in statistics, and data analysis within experiments.

  3. Uh, Pi is a transcendental number.

  4. Circumference of Circle / Diameter = Goba, 6283185306 / 2000000000 = 3.141592653 Constant of Goba is RATIONAL NUMBER.

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