Yes, today is Pi (π) day, the value of the enigmatic mathematic constant to the first two places, 3.14, being similar to today’s date in the Gregorian calendar, 3/14. So what is π? As I said, it is an enigma. In simpler terms, it is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is one of the most important mathematical and engineering constants. This image from Wikipedia Commons demonstrates π best.
Many think that π is a rational number, and its can be represented using the fraction 22/7. This is a misconception, as 22/7 is only an approximation of π, and is correct only up to the second place of decimal. π is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be represented using any fraction m/n, where m and n are integers. It is also a transcendental number, which means it cannot be represented using any set of mathematical equations. It can only be approximated, and so have inquisitive minds been involved for centuries, right from the ancient Indians to today’s mathematicians. Modern computers have taken the approximation to another dimension, the current record being 1,241,100,000,000 decimal places. However, I write here a value of π correct to 50 decimal places, modest enough for Blabberwocky.
π = 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510
Infact, some people are so obsessed with π (and perhaps also with their lack of mathematical expertise), that there is a Guinness World Record for memorizing the digits of π. The current record stands at 67,890 digits, set by Lu Chao, a 24-year-old graduate student from China. To memorize π, poems called piems have been devised, the length of each word representing a digit. An example: how I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics. Notice how the first word has 3 letters, the second has 1, the third has 4, and so on. And then there are people like me, who celebrate this awe-inspiring entity by writing a post about it. Happy π day.