March 14, 2011
Today is March 14, or 3.14, the day we celebrate the mathematical constant pi (π). Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, is an irrational number, meaning that it can’t be expressed as a simple fraction of two integers. It is also a transcendental number, which means it is not algebraic. The celebrated 3.14 is just the beginning of pi—it continues into infinity, and that may be one of the reasons people find it so fascinating. So in honor of Pi Day, here are some suggestions for how to celebrate:
1 ) Read about the long history of pi.
3 ) See how far you can calculate pi. Computer programmer Fabrice Bellard calculated pi to 2.7 trillion digits using his home computer.
4 ) Watch the movie Pi, a 1998 thriller about a paranoid mathematician.
5 ) Make a pi-themed pie (I went for chocolate peanut butter pie, but any flavor is appropriate).
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