While many of us at The Bee have liberal arts degrees (OK, all of us on the editorial board, although some took calculus), we would like to take a moment to celebrate Pi Day.
More precisely, 3.14159 moments.
Pi is the number, 3.14159, which represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Something to meditate upon: It is a transcendental number. Thanks, “Trig for Dummies.”
The Chinese may have been the first to discover pi, and used 3, minus the change. Euclid worked it out to 3.14 and change. This year, Pi Day falls on 3/14/15, which are the first five digits of this most irrational number.
All across America, people who love pi are rejoicing on this special Pi Day. For the truly pi-obsessive, the peak moment of joy occurs on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will post its acceptance letters at that precise moment, to make sure its applicants are schooled in the ever-expanding field of math humor. Other people will celebrate by eating more readily understandable pie. We prefer apple.
Where would we be without pi? Let’s square the circle.
No moon landing. No jet propulsion. No aviation. No architecture. That’s for starters. Because we are liberal arts majors, we suspect there are millions of other applications for pi about which we simply are unaware.
Pi has been calculated out to a trillion decimal places. Once you get past 3.14, it has no apparent pattern, like so many things in life.
We won’t bore you further with the many splendors of pi. We’d be going off on a tangent. It wouldn’t add up. It would cause division. We need to bring this editorial back full circle.
So enjoy 3/14/15, Pi Day. Don’t fret if you miss the festivities for this year. There will be another Pi Day on 3/14/16, if you round up.
Ohman is The Sacramento Bee’s editorial cartoonist. Read his blog at sacbee.com/ohman.
The Sacramento Bee
BY THE NUMBERS
3.14 things to know about pi ...
1. One may be the loneliest number, but, for cosmological purposes, it’s only necessary to calculate pi out to 39 digits. The rest is gravy, usually done for testing supercomputers or high-precision multiplication algorithms. Stay with us here.
2. Unlike editorial writers, pi never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. In late 2013, a supercomputer calculated pi to 13.3 trillion decimal places.
3. Three is a pretty close approximation of pi, but the Chinese and others calculated it out to seven digits until Indian mathematicians got a more exact representation in the 14th century. 22/7 is the fractional representation of pi.
.14. The human record for memorizing pi’s decimal places stands at over 67,000, which is impressive but crazy.