Wikipedia defines Pi as “a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter… equal to 3.14159265 in decimal notation”. But this isn’t quite true. Pi is infinite. Millions and millions of digits of pi have been calculated using super computers. The digits look random, with about the same number of zeros and ones and twos and threes and so on, spread throughout. It’s very possible that this carries on to infinity, a constant string of numbers. It’s kind of amazing if you really think about it… infinity is impossible to understand for us. But that’s for another time. Anyway, I don’t know why you’d particularly want to know that, but you never know, it could come in useful one day.
I digress. I always thought that pi = 3, until I made the fatal mistake of telling my year 10 maths teacher this, who literally shouted at me. It was probably one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me, and I can assure you, I don’t make assumptions any more. Pi seriously does NOT equal 3. We just all wish it was, everything would be SO much easier. And the amount of decimal places? Apparently, people can remember thousands. I highly doubt that, and I can only remember the first 6, thanks to this poem!
‘Tis a favorite project of mine
A new value of pi to assign.
I would fix it at 3
For it’s simpler, you see,
Than 3 point 1 4 1 5 9.
The thing about pi is, whenever I think about it, it just leads straight to the sort of pie I like to eat… and oh do I like to eat pie. Any kind – although a classic apple is my favourite. My Nan actually makes really nice pies… I might go and get one for dinner now! Although we’re talking about mathematical pi here. I’m so easily distracted!
I can’t really stress the importance of this number. In a sense, the universe could not operate properly without the number pi. Also, I could not function without pastry. So you know…
Pi… where would we be without you?
Reading back over this article, I realize I should have probably posted it on Pi day – 14th of March (3/14 in America – lol), but there you go. Let’s just take a moment now to reflect upon it’s brilliance.
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