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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy π Day!!!

I am really excited to be bringing this blog entry to you!  Sure, to most people in the world, this would be your typical Saturday morning in March 2015, filled with your morning coffee, Saturday newspaper, and a distinct lack of Saturday Morning cartoons.

Seriously, I feel so bad for the kids of today's generation, not knowing the fun and joy of Saturday cartoons.  You guys really don't know what you're missing.

Of course, for people who are really into mathematics, this day is almost as important as the birthdates of Pascal, Euclid, and Fryer.

(Those three names are the last names of famous mathematicians.  Anyone who ever wrote one of those mathematics contests from Waterloo University in Canada will know what I am talking about.)

Yes, today is March 14, 2015.  Or, if you write it out numerically in the North American way, you will have 3/14/15.

Hmmm...where have I seen that number before?  31415...31415...hmmm, maybe there's a decimal point that is supposed to be in place.

3.1415...and so on!  Wait a minute.  That's the number that represents THIS symbol.

And this symbol is something that is known as pi!  Or, π, if you rather.

And that means that today is...

HAPPY PI DAY!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, welcome to National Pi Day!  A day of celebration that only happens twice a day every one hundred years!  (Remember, there is a 9:26am and a 9:26pm.)

And as this wonderful illustration happens to show, 3.14 written backwards kind of looks like the word "pie".

But what exactly is PI?  Well, I'm glad you asked.

Although I myself have likely never used pi since I was in high school, I do know that pi is a measurement that is used to figure out what the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Sadly, I have really no use for π in my current occupation.  Well, unless I want to try something out with a paint can.  What exactly I would be finding out?  Well, your guess would be as good as mine.

But really, the number 3.1415... is a number that many people all over the world have been fascinated by.  After all, pi is probably the most famous of all the irrational numbers.  If one were to put π  in the form of a fraction, the closest you would get would be 22/7.'s a wonder that July 22 isn't equally celebrated by π  addicts.  Maybe this year it will be.

The point being is that because π is an irrational number, it is not a nice, round, even number.  In fact, it is an irrational number.  The value of π is a little bit more than three, but it happens to be a three followed by an infinite number of digits.

How many digits can you name before you make a mistake?

I have to admit...I'm not very good.  The calculator pic I posted above?  That's as far as I can go.  But that's not too terrible.  Still, some people have tried to analyze π as far as they can to see how many possible digits that they can rattle off. 

Apparently, that number can go as high as thirteen TRILLION digits.  I barely managed thirteen digits.  I have a lot of work to do!

Of course, everyone plans on celebrating Pi Day in their own way.  I would imagine that for most people, they will be celebrating by sitting back and eating a nice big slice of pie.  And if you click on the following links, you can find recipes for cherry, blueberry, apple, peach, and banana cream pies.  Happy baking!

But did you know that there's actually a band that is named 3.14...?  They are based out of Azerbaijan, so I won't hold it against you if you have not heard of them (I know I haven't).  But the insipration behind the name?  π!

There's also an album that was released by Selina Jen of Taiwan in January 2015 with the title 3.1415.

Oh, and as far as celebrating Pi Day, nobody seems to do it better than the University of Massachusetts, which plans on sending their acceptance letters to students who have applied to various programs at 9:26:53am on March 14, 2015.

Or, 3/14/15, 9:26:53.

Go on.  Have a look.  You probably have it in your mailbox right now.

Happy π  Day!

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