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3-14: National Pi Day

Hayden Basler, Senior reporter

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National Pi Day takes place every March 14. Think about it. If Pi starts with 3.14, then you can make the connection that the first three numbers of Pi match the date in which National Pi Day takes place. Did you know that if you put 3.14 backwards (413) and flip the numbers to make each number backwards to, that it will spell “pie?” By Pi, I don’t mean like a fruit pie or a type of dessert, I mean the scientific number that never ends. It may not seem like a big deal, but no matter how many times scientists try to find an ending, the decimal just keeps going on. Unlike other decimals, Pi doesn’t repeat either. A scientist named Fabrice Bellard says that they have at least discovered 2.7 trillion digits in Pi. This number may seem big, but a trillion would only be like having 5 or 10 of something if you were comparing it to something that never ends.

The History of Pi

Pi was discovered by the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes. Pi was discovered somewhere around the time 212 BC. Many scientists and mathematicians built off of each other’s theories to try to find or discover more of Pi. The Egyptians were first to try to discover it. The Egyptians used this formula to try to find Pi; A=(8/9)d2

The Egyptians used the formula above to calculate Pi to 3.16. Then the Babylonians tried to calculate Pi too. They took 3 times the radius squared (3r2) and they used 3 for Pi. One Babylonian tablet had calculated Pi to be 3.125. Archimedes was the first person to have a theory for Pi, and he almost had it down to the thousandths. Archimedes came up with this theory for Pi;  . Using this formula, Archimedes discovered Pi to be 3.14. How Archimedes discovered this was he drew a circle that had a radius of 1. Then he started drawing polygons around the circle so that the polygons barely touched the circle. If we increase the number of sides on the polygon, the approximation of the circumference increases. Archimedes did this until he had a shape that had 96 sides. Pi wasn’t a thing that many people wanted to explore. Pi was left alone for a while. Then, sometime around the Renaissance period, another mathematician/scientist made improvements to Archimedes’ theories and he came up with a new formula around 1593. His formula for Pi looked like this: This was the first formula to suggest that Pi was infinite. A scientist named John Wallis discovered an infinite fraction that also suggests that Pi is infinite. The digits in the formula go out to infinity. The numerator is odd numbers multiplied by odd numbers and the denominator is even numbers multiplied by even numbers.

Here is the fraction: 11335577/22446688… Another important scientist was William Shanks who used a formula created by John Machin to calculate 707 digits of Pi in 1873. It was determined that 527 of the 707 digits were indeed correct. This means that scientists and mathematicians came to the conclusion that Pi was an irrational number. This means that Pi will go on forever without ever repeating.

What is Pi?

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference (c) when you use the formula C=2r. Pi was a really big discovery. Many people who tried to find more about Pi found it outright provoking that it was an irrational number. It is a lot to take in, something that NEVER ends. It gives you a headache just thinking about it right? When Pi was discovered, people really thought that they were close to God. Many people have believed that they have found Pi is connected to the Bible. At least two verses have been discovered that might be related to Pi. These verses include 1 Kings 7:23, and ll Chronicles 4:2. 1 Kings 7:23 says;And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about” (The Holy Bible), and ll Chronicles 4:2 says; He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it, (The Holy Bible). This proves what a significant discovery Pi is. It is just amazing that there is a number that can go on forever and never repeat or never end.

When is Pi used?

Pi is mostly used in science and math. Pi is commonly used in math because it is all about circles. You use Pi to calculate the area and the circumference of the circle. However, Pi is also related to pyramids too. It has been thought about that Pi may have something to do with The Great Pyramid of Giza. A person named John Taylor first proposed the idea and he discovered that if you divide the perimeter of the pyramid by the pyramids height, you get a close approximation to 2&pi. He compared this to if you divide the circumference of a circle by its radius, you get 2&Pi. According to the text, “He suggested that perhaps the Great Pyramid was intended to be a representation of the spherical Earth, the height corresponding to the radius joining the center of the Earth to the North Pole and the perimeter corresponding to the Earth’s circumference at the Equator (https://math.washington.edu). He made another discovery using Egypt mathematics, and he found that the slope of each face of the pyramid is really close to 4&pi (1.273239…). This relationship is accurate to within .04% or better (depending on the data that one uses) (https://math.washington.edu). This level of accuracy was really impressive and it is the reason why the idea of Pi being related to pyramids is promoted or believed. To prove that Pi has everything to do with circles, take a string and wrap it around a circle. Get a piece of paper out and mark 5 spaces by the diameter (or width) of the circle.and roll the circle out, you would see that the string ends at 3.14. Amazing isn’t it, so that proves just how important Pi is and why it is such a big thing that we have discovered it.

 

Well, consider the importance of Pi, imagine how long it took for Pi to be discovered. When you hear that something is infinite, it just kind of blows your mind right? Infinite is a lot to think about, it is hard to think of something that never ends, it is even confusing sometimes too. If you think that IPhones and Echo Dots were big inventions, just imagine what it was like for them when they discovered Pi: they might have even felt overwhelmed at their discoveries because they even thought that they were close to God when Pi was discovered. Pi is involved with anything that is a circle; tires, pies (the dessert), spheres, Pi is even involved with pyramids too, so Pi is a very important discovery, just imagine where we would be at if we hadn’t discovered Pi.

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