Happy Pi Day! Pi Day pies. (Flickr user Dennis Wilkinson/Thinkstock)
Happy Pi Day!
Lexile

March 14, when written as 3/14, represents the first three digits of pi. It is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. To commemorate the world's most famous mathematical constant, enthusiasts around the world embrace their inner nerdiness by celebrating Pi Day. The date, which also happens to be Einstein's birthday, inspires a variety of events every year. Last year was the ultimate Pi Day, as adding the year to the date notation, 3/14/15, encompassed even more digits in the sequence. We won't get this much pi again for 100 years.
 
Just why are people crazy about pi? The number - 3 followed by a ceaseless string of random numbers after the decimal point - is irrational, meaning that it cannot be expressed through the division of two whole numbers. It is also a transcendental number, which means that it isn't the root of any algebraic number. This irrational and transcendental nature appeals to people, perhaps because pi's continuous flow of digits reflects the unending circle it helps to trace.
 
Pi has held an almost mystical quality to humans throughout time. Its unspoken presence can be felt in the circular ruins of Stonehenge, in the vaulted ceilings of domed Roman temples and in the celestial spheres of Plato and Ptolemy. It has inspired centuries of mathematical puzzles and some of humanity's most iconic artwork. People spend years of their lives attempting to memorize its digits. Contests are held to see who knows the most numbers after the decimal. Some people write "piaku."  Those are poems in which the number of letters in each word represents subsequent digits of pi. Still others create complex works of art. They are inspired by the randomness of pi. The list goes on and on, like pi itself.
 
How are you celebrating Pi Day?

Filed Under:  
Assigned 116 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What would happen if pi = 3.2?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (101)
  • michaelg-ver
    3/11/2016 - 02:43 p.m.

    What I think would happen is that the shape of a circle would no longer be a circle and many scientists would be confused around the world when dealing with circles.

  • batiar-3-bar
    3/11/2016 - 02:46 p.m.

    If pi were to be 3.2 it wouldn't be expressing the same thing, "3 followed by a ceaseless string of random numbers after the decimal point - is irrational, meaning that it cannot be expressed through the division of two whole numbers. It is also a transcendental number, which means that it isn't the root of any algebraic number."Pi is "the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter," and is endless if pi were to be 3.2 it would show that the circle has an end which is invalid. I found it kinda crazy that Albert Einstein's birthday is the same day as international pi day, 3/14. I found this article very interesting, and in a way inspiring. I think pi is an amazing discovery and displays that a circle is never ending. I find it inspiring because people around the world do contest, study it (in depth), and even write poems about it! The contest held for pi is a competition to see who can get the most amount of numbers right after the decimal. Some others things people do with pi are"'piaku.' Those are poems in which the number of letters in each word represents subsequent digits of pi. Still others create complex works of art. They are inspired by the randomness of pi." This article is very informative and makes me want celebrate pi day.

  • tyn-2-bar
    3/11/2016 - 04:13 p.m.

    If pi equaled 3.2 there could be two different options. Either we would have to live in an alternate universe where the laws of physics are altered and is unimaginable. Or, pi would not be the ratio of the circumference of a circle and its diameter. In the article, it says "This irrational and transcendental nature appeals to people, perhaps because pi's continuous flow of digits reflects the unending circle it helps to trace." 3.2 is not an irrational number therefore pi would mean something else other than what it is to this day.
    I don't really care about pi.

  • kyleed1-col
    3/11/2016 - 05:49 p.m.

    I think that if pi is 3.2 then the string of numbers may be completely different and pi day would be on March 2nd.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/12/2016 - 05:07 p.m.

    The mathematical concept which people would like to celebrate the day when people had first created the mathematical symbol of pi which people would celebrate the day that represents first 2 numbers of the symbol of pi. The people might have wanted to celebrate the creation of pi which people like the concept of 3.14 which people would like to celebrate the day when it the day when it represents the first 2 numbers. The mathematical symbol of pi might have let people to be celebrating the day on what represents the first two numbers behind the decimal. People might have gotten to celebrate the day when the mathematical symbol, pi had been created and even celebrate Einstein's birthday on when they celebrate the creation of 3.14.
    Critical Thinking Question: What would happen if pi = 3.2?
    Answer: If pi was 3.2, then we wouldn't be able to know the real meaning of pi if it is 3.2 instead of 3.14.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    3/13/2016 - 09:00 p.m.

    If pi were equal to 3.2, then its fame would most likely be nonexistent. In the middle of the article, it says,"The number - 3 followed by a ceaseless string of random numbers after the decimal point - is irrational, meaning that it cannot be expressed through the division of two whole numbers. It is also a transcendental number, which means that it isn't the root of any algebraic number" (paragraph 2). Due to pi's irrational nature, pi has become a popular and mysterious number to mathematicians, as well as the human race. If pi were to equal 3.2, a terminating decimal, the number's popularity, and name as well, would probably not exist.

    I found this article interesting because I never knew that Einstein, the famous mathematician, was born on Pi Day, or rather March 14.

  • tatumh.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:11 a.m.

    I think it is very cool that Pi Day also falls on the most amazing scientists birthday its like a remembrance of him.

  • mikaylaz.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:14 a.m.

    If pi=3.2,pi day would become a different day and it might end.

  • gagec.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:15 a.m.

    In think that pi is unique because it is 3 followed by random numbers and it helps you find the circumference of a circle.

  • evakathrynj.1-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:15 a.m.

    Pi has a continuous flow of digits. Some people compete in contests to see who knows the most numbers behind the decimal.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT