Happy Pi day.
I have family members who consider this a High Holy Day.
I, being of a more liberal ordnung, don’t bow to the god of Pi.
I eat pie.
But, alas, as it is a day celebrated by mathematicians every where as well as a vast portion of my family, I’ll play along.
Pi is the symbol used by mathematicians to represent the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
The fascinating thing about pi; as it is an irrational number, it cannot be expressed exactly as a common fraction, you know, like 1/2.
Freakishly, its decimal representation never ends and again, freakishly, never settles into a permanent repeating pattern.
You may remember those little terrors from high school, the ones you kept dividing and getting the same darn number…well, pi doesn’t play that.
Pi stands alone.
This is a huge deal for math geeks every where, and has been for centuries. Archimedes used it back in the day, but was limited to older techniques. Infinite series techniques not coming along until much later kept the Greeks from discovering all the “joys” of pi.
Sir Isaac Rootin Tootin Newton loved pi. He used infinite series to compute pi to 15 digits…well, at least that’s what he published.
He said, “I am ashamed to tell you to how many figures I carried these computations”.
Isaac needed a hobby!
Or a woman!*
So, to all my family and friends who do math problems on paper napkins in restaurants for fun, happy Pi day!
Eat some pie.
Mrs. Smith will thank you!
*most historians will declare Newton died a virgin.