A day in the life of Pi

Maths is everywhere and Pi is no exception. Holger Motzkau, CC BY-SA

Most people have heard of the mathematical constant Pi (π), and will know that it’s roughly 3.14. Taking inspiration from these three digits, March 14 (3/14 in the US date format) is heralded as international Pi Day, first marked by US physicist Larry Shaw in 1988.

This year brings a unique opportunity to demonstrate an entirely unnecessary degree of zeal by marking Pi Day correct to nine decimal places on March 14, 2015, at 9.26am 53sec – corresponding to 3.141592653, the first 10 digits of Pi. If you’re too busy this weekend, you could book in July 22 – another way of expressing Pi approximately is the fraction 22/7.

Pi Pie at Delft University

Pi is calculated as the ratio between a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Pi is always the same value, no matter the size of the circle, which makes it an important mathematical constant.

The ancient Babylonians calculated Pi as three by taking three times the square of the circle’s radius, later refining the value to 3.125. Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BCE) approximated Pi by inscribing polygons on the inside and outside of a circle. By increasing the number of sides of the polygons, Pi could be calculated to higher levels of accuracy.

To read the rest of Prof. Graham Kendall story, see the videos  & hear the music, follow this link.  https://theconversation.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-pi-38206

 

 Graham Kendall Professor of Operations Research and Vice-Provost, University of Nottingham 

Disclosure statement

Graham Kendall does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

 

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