The history of Pi Day - March 14th

A Bit of Pi History

Probably no symbol in mathematics has evoked as much mystery, romanticism, misconception and human interest as the number pi
~William L. Schaaf, Nature and History of Pi 

 

You’ve probably heard about pi, the infinite number that you may or may not have tried to out-memorize your friends on. 3.14159... it goes on, and on... and on... But what exactly is pi?

Pi, also written as π is a mathematical constant that represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It’s most commonly represented as 3.14, which is why Pi Day is March 14th! If you type pi into a calculator, you’ll get 3.141592654. It’s not an exact value, but a calculator is limited to 10 digits, and pi is an irrational number, meaning it is infinite with no repeating patterns.

 

Archimedes, pi day

 

The history of pi might be older than you realize — We’ve actually known pi for about 4,000 years! Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians were using pi and estimating its value as early as 2000 B.C.E., using ropes to measure buildings and boundaries. Archimedes, the famous Greek mathematician (pictured above), was the first person to use a set of rules, known as algorithms, to calculate pi in 250 B.C.E. In 1706, mathematician William Jones was the first to substitute the Greek symbol "π"  for the word, a symbol which is now used around the world.

 

Google employee, pi day

 

Mathematicians throughout the ages continued to puzzle over pi, in the process proving it is irrational and continuing to estimate more digits. Now, thanks to modern technology, a Google employee named Emma Haruka Iwao in Japan has broken the world record and estimated pi to 31 trillion digits (even though only the first 40 are necessary to calculate anything with next to no error). Technological advancements to come will probably allow for even more digits to be estimated, so keep an eye out!

 

Pi sticker for pi day and pi lovers

 

So, how do you plan to celebrate Pi Day? Maybe order a pizza with some friends and do some calculating (or just enjoy the pizza!). Or grab a fun Pi-finity graphic tee or Pi-finity sticker from our website! We work with Sticker Mule to print our die-cut vinyl stickers, and their quality is next level — perfect for encapsulating the nature of pi.

Let us know in the comments. We always love to hear from you!

 

Cleo Egnal

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