By Math Club Leaders Miranda Lorsbach and Anaika Tyagi
Pi Day! (Image Source)
As some of you might know, Pi day was on March 14th! Why March 14th? Well, 3/14 spells out the first three numbers of the fascinating number: pi! Pi represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and what anyone who has ever competed in a pi-digit reciting contest knows, it goes on forever.
So what is some of the history of pi? As early as 2000 BCE, the Babylonians used an approximation of 3.125 for pi. The ancient Egyptians got a little closer with their guess of 3.16045. But Archimedes was the ancient Greek mathematician responsible for a big leap in pi’s history - he figured out that by finding the difference between the perimeter of a regular polygon placed outside the circle and the perimeter of a regular polygon placed inside the circle, this would closely resemble the value of pi. Chinese, Indian, and Arab mathematicians were able to extend the number of decimal places through modern calculations as opposed to the older strategy of Archimedes.
Archimedes’ Method (Image Source)
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, mathematicians discovered new methods of finding pi. Sir Isaac Newton used his binomial theorem to calculate the first 16 decimal places. Srinivasa Ramanujan’s methods of mathematical analysis were even later incorporated in computer algorithms.
In the past decade, mathematicians have made great bounds with the help of technology - in 2010, researcher Nicholas Sze used a type of cloud computing technology to find the two-quadrillionth digit of pi!
So why are mathematicians so obsessed with this number? Well, pi goes far beyond the whiteboards of classrooms - it can measure ocean waves, it has helped out in the construction of GPS systems, and can even be seen when trying to understand the structure and function of DNA!
Now that you all know that pi is definitely worth thinking about on this one-month anniversary of the mathematical holiday, allow us to tempt you to celebrate with some great pie recipes (the kind you can eat)!
If you are interested in learning more, check out some of these interesting articles:
And Here is Some Super Cool Geometric Pie Inspo ->
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Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen)