Happy Pi day

Oops, I almost missed the chance to wish you a happy Pi day. So, almost belatedly:

Happy Pi day!!!

You probably know that Pi – or more accurately, πœ‹ – is one of the most important numbers in mathematics, occurring in many surprising places.

Most people first come across πœ‹ at school, where you learn that it’s the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of any circle. But πœ‹ also crops up in almost every other area of mathematics as well, including Statistics. Β In a future post I’ll give an example of this.

Meantime, why is today Pi day? Well, today is March 14th, or 3/14 if you’re American. And the approximate value of Pi is 3.14. more accurately, here’s the value of πœ‹ to 100 digits:

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510 58209 74944 59230 78164 06286 20899 86280 34825 34211 7067

Not enough for you? You can get the first 100,000 digits here.

But that’s just a part of the story. You probably also know that Pi is what’s known as an irrational number, which means that its decimal representation is infinite and non-repeating. And today it was announced that Pi has just been computed to an accuracy of 31.4 trillion decimal digits, beating the previous most accurate computation by nearly 9 trillion digits.

That’s impressive computing power, obviously, but how about simply remembering the digits of πœ‹? Chances are you remembered from school the first three digits of πœ‹: 3, 1, 4. But the current world record for remembering the value of πœ‹ is 70,030 digits, which is held by Suresh Kumar Sharma of India? And almost as impressively, here’sΒ an 11-year old kidΒ who managed 2091 digits.

Like I say, I’ll write about πœ‹’s importance in Statistics in another post.

Meantime, here’s Homer:


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