Pi, the never-ending constant in the history of mathematics, has turned thirty today. March 14 is celebrated as the Pi Day worldwide coinciding with the value of pi having 3.14 as the first digits. Almost every mathematics enthusiast, statistician, physicist, and other avid follower looks forward to this day to celebrate it in their own style, much like what Google did by revealing the math-inspired Doodle on its homepage – although that’s technically a sporadic assortment of pie – a homophone to the word pi (ℼ).
The word pi is denoted by the Greek letter ℼ and it has been running through the mankind civilisations as the coveted mathematical character, even giving birth to endless online jokes and trolls. While the history of pi dates back to time immemorial, people, including mathematicians, were not familiar with pi until 1988 when Larry Shaw invented the Pi Day to be marked on March 14, or 3.14 – which also happen to be the first three digits of pi value.
Pi is used as a symbol to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, giving the formula – ℼ x radius x radius to calculate area of a circle and ℼ x radius x radius x height to calculate the area of a cone.
As we said, Pi is a mathematical character that has a constant value – meaning that its value isn’t changed by the numbers it’s equated with. A pi is also an irrational number that means that its value consists infinite digits that never repeat in the sequence. There have been several instances where artificially intelligent machines have been deployed to explore the value of pi that is beyond the capability of humans.
So far, the value of pi has been calculated to 22 trillion digits – 22,459,157,718,361 to be specific – by a physicist named Peter Trueb. While you may think it to be just a pastime by maniacs, it has some relevance when NASA uses it to calculate interplanetary travel time. NASA uses only 15 digits of the pi’s value for the same, while it has been argued that the first 39 digits of the value of pi are sufficient to work out the circumference of the universe known to humans.