Pi Day

What does it mean, Alfie?

Bob Jasper
ILLUMINATION-Curated

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Photo by Taso Katsionis on Unsplash

I was going to celebrate Pi Day (March 14) by getting a piece of pie at our local grocery store, but I didn’t get there. (That’s probably a good thing for my waistline.) Now the day has passed, and I didn’t find time to finish this piece either. So here it is a day late but hopefully not a dollar short.

If you are a nerd like me, you’ll enjoy learning about the process of calculating pi. If not, I hope you’ll at least take a few minutes to puzzle over it and marvel at the wisdom of the man who first determined the approximate value of π.

Why do we celebrate π (pi)? You probably know that it’s not so much a celebration that we do as it is a remembrance and an appreciation. March 14 or 3/14 is called Pi Day because the value of pi is approximately 3.14. But you knew that.

But did you know that Archimedes of Syracuse (287–212 BC), perhaps the greatest mathematician of the ancient world, did the first calculation of π (pi)?

How did he do it?

First, he knew that the ratio of the circumference of a circle (C)to its diameter (d) was a fixed number. That number he called π, the Greek letter “p” which can stand for perimeter or distance around an object. In mathematical terms:

π = C/d

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Bob Jasper
ILLUMINATION-Curated

My Muse is in hiding, but we cross paths from time to time. I think I gave the old guy too much grief. Maybe he quit without notice.