Today is Pi-Day 2008. A day in honor of Pi, one of the oldest and most mysterious mathematical constants known to man. A day in celebration of the works of dozens of great mathematicians and scholars. A day to revel in the glory and power of Pi. For those of you that live in the USA and use the MM/DD date representation format, the reason should be clear enough: March 14th, 2008 == 3.14.
Pi isn’t just a number that you can use to calculate circle-related mathematics, it’s a symbol of something by far greater. Pi is one of many “magic” numbers that are found everywhere – if you know where to look. These magic numbers can’t be explained, they just are. And if you use them right, they make it a lot easier to do a lot of really complicated things… In a way, they’re a testimony to technology and computers (or vice-versa, depending on how you look at it).
Pi, i, e, and Phi are just some of the numbers that have an almost-magical role in furthering scientific and mathematical studies and observations in our daily lives. It doesn’t matter where they came from or what they actually mean; the one thing that truly counts is what you can make them do for you.
No one knows can know what Pi stands for – it’s a transcedental number that never terminates. While it’s commonly shortened as 3.14 or 3.14159; but in reality, it never ends:
Nowadays, when you say “Pi” you’re not just referring to the endless number, but also indirectly referencing the cult-like following it has gathered over the years. Pi is everywhere, and not just in mathematics and nature alone. Websites, T-Shirts, software, and pop-culture (PDF warning!) have all irrationally-converged over the Pi concept (pun intended!).
March 14th isn’t the only day that Pi is celebrated – a number of other days including July 22nd (22/7 ≈ Pi), November 9th on Leap Years, and November 10th otherwise (the 314th days of their respective years) are also recognized as “Pi Approximation Days” in their own right. And in China, December 10th at 1:13 PM is also considered to be yet another Pi Approximation (December 10th is the 355th day of the year, and 355/113 ≈ Pi).
Looking at the abundance of “magic numbers” tucked-into corners of everyday life, hiding in flower petals, ancient architectures, the layout and design of the universe, and belly-button ratios make one wonder: What other miracle numbers are out there, waiting to be discovered and their secrets unveiled; bringing order to chaos and providing an explanation for phenomenon where there once was none?
Some “magic numbers” trivia:
- Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day, 1879; as-is befitting of a scientist of his rank!
(Sidebar: Mahmoud Al-Qudsi, the founder of NeoSmart Technologies was born on Nov. 9th, or Pi Approximation Day as well).
- Many scientists lost their minds trying to figure out Pi! The “circle-squaring disease” (from “squaring the circle” or the attempt to find a square with the same area as a circle in a finite number of steps) is known as Morbus Cyclometricus.
- The length from your toes to your belly-button divided by the length from your head to your belly-button is equal to Phi.
- James Smith wrote several books “proving” that Pi is equal to 25/8 — which is wrong, of course.
- Most people classify Pi as being just another “irrational number,” but that’s actually not true, because if Pi were simply irrational, dealing with it would be so much easier (and “squaring the circle” would be possible). In reality, Pi is a transcendental irrational number, i.e. it’s not the solution to any polynomial linear system with rational coefficients.