Happy Pi Day: Monday is Pi Day, also known as March 14 (aka 3/14), a day to celebrate math, sometimes with a slice of delicious dessert.
Pi is probably something you remember from middle school or junior high.
Happy Pi Day 2022
It’s the circumference to diameter ratio of a circle, which has been determined over hundreds of years always to be about 3.14.
“Pi appears organically in a variety of places,” explains Karen Smith, PhD, associate professor of Mathematics at UC Blue Ash.
“NASA, for example, employs pi regularly to compute spacecraft trajectories. Early astronomers used it to analyse the Earth, its rotation, and its orbit.
It’s also employed nowadays when any building construction – anything round or with circular pieces, such as arches or circular pillars — necessitates these types of calculations.”
The inaugural Pi Day was held in California in 1988.
“A physicist called Larry Shaw out of San Francisco coordinated it,” Smith says. “Of course, they celebrated by eating pie and marching in circles.”
In 2009, the United States House of Representatives declared March 14 to be Pi Day.
When math teacher William Jones was the first to use the Greek letter (pi) as the sign for the mathematical ratio in 1706, he was credited with “inventing” pi.
“It was previously known as the quantity that provides the circumference when the diameter is multiplied by it. It’s a mouthful, to say the least, “Smith remarks.
While Jones gave the idea a name, it has much older roots.
“Many ancient cultures employed approximations of pi in calculations,” Smith continues, “but Archimedes was the first to undertake a calculation of pi.
He discovered the areas of two regular polygons, one encircled by a circle and the other not, and demonstrated that pi is between 3-1/7 and 3-10/71. As a result, it was a rather precise calculation.”
Albert Einstein, a well-known physicist, was born on Pi Day. On March 14, 1879, he was born.