The Pi is a famous mathematical constant. Famous, why? Because everyone seems to want to get a slice of it.
Pi (represented by π – a Greek letter) is an irrational and transcendental number. This means it will continue infinitely without a pattern.
Many people spend months trying to find the digits of Pi. What is so intriguing about this mathematical constant that people invest so much time to unravel the infinite digits?
Several enthusiasts attempt counting an indefinitely long list of digits for testing a new supercomputer. To date, 50 trillion digits of Pi have been calculated. Many others also obsess about these digits , driven by curiosity and wanting to make and break records. There are two days in the year dedicated to Pi! Read on to know which are these days.
What is the Value of Pi (π)?
Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Mathematically, pi is equal to 22/7, which is 3.14159.
It was first discovered 4000 years ago.
International Pi Day 2021
March 14 (or 3/14) is annually celebrated as International Pi Day. The date matches the first three digits in the mathematical constant Pi (π). Thus, every year International Pi Day falls on March 14.
History of Pi
The ancient Babylonians calculated the area of a circle by approximating it to 3 times its radius. This put the value of π at 3.
The Egyptians, however, found that the value of π was 3.165. This was a closer approximation.
However, Archimedes used a different approach. He approximated the area of a circle using the Pythagoras Theorem.
He did this by circumscribing a polygon outside a circle. And by inscribing a polygon inside the same circle. He then calculated the areas of the two polygons. Thus, he found that π was between 3 1/7 and 3 10/71.
Zu Changzhi, a Chinese mathematician and astronomer, also did a similar calculation. He concluded that π lay in the interval 3.1415926 and 3.1415927.
International Pi Day 2021: Interesting Facts
Thanks to supercomputers and algorithms, many more people are in pursuit of the remaining digits of Pi. Here are some interesting facts about International Pi Day:
- Timothy Mullican in 2020 set the last world record (as of March 2021). He calculated 50 trillion digits of Pi.
- A Google employee, Emma Haruka Iwao was the first woman to calculate 31 trillion digits of Pi in 2019. The calculation took her and her team about four months and 170 TB of data.
- The pi value was first approximated by the famous and ancient Greek mathematician, Archimedes of Syracuse. He said that the value of Pi lies between 3 1/7 and 3 10/71.
- March 14 is observed as Pi Day and July 22 (or 22/7) is celebrated as Pi Approximation Day!
- Mathematicians began using π only in the 1700s. It was introduced by William Jones in 1706. But the use of the symbol was popularized by Leonhard Euler, who adopted it in 1737.
- Euler used the symbol π in his famed ‘Euler’s function.’
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