Happy Pi Day – the beauty of mathematics

To my mathematician friends, Eli Maor, Michael Sterling and grandson James … happy Pi day.

Pi day is celebrated every year on March 14th, which coincidentally, is also the birthday of one of the worlds greatest mathematicians, Albert Einstein.

It is also about, what mathematicians will say, is “highlighting the beauty and elegance of mathematics”.  Pi has been a mathematical constant for nearly 4,000 year with the earliest  evidence of dating back to 1900 BCE.

What is Pi?  In mathematics, it is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which when you think of it, no matter what size the circle, the number will be always be the same. It begins 3.141592653589, and it keeps going.  The first three numbers are, of course, symbolic of March 14th (third month, 14th day).

It was first called “pi” in 1706 by the Welsh mathematician, William Jones, because pi is the first letter in the Greek word perimitros, which means “perimeter” (Wikipedia) and, in 1737, Leonhard Euler popularized the usage of the symbol.
Pi Day was actually celebrated for the first time in 1988 by American physicist Larry Shaw. The value of Pi was determined to a record-breaking 22 trillion decimal places in 2017.


On a lighter note, for those who are not mathematicians, it has also become a holiday for pie lovers!