Why We Geek Out for Pi Day
March 14, 2011
by Alexis Mattera
Think back (OK, maybe it’s not so far back for some of you) to your last geometry course. Remember the name of the mathematical constant expressing the ratio of a circle's circumference over its diameter? Of course you do – it’s Pi! – and today, mathletes and non-mathletes alike are celebrating it...but why?
Time recently interviewed David Blatner, author of "The Joy of Pi", about the Greek symbol’s history and cult following. "What's interesting about it is that it's technically irrational and transcendental. The exact digits of Pi cannot ever truly be known. There's no way for us to figure out what Pi is and that's kind of an odd and curious thing for science," he said. "At its simplest, Pi is the measurement around the circle, divided by the measurement across the circle. The idea that something so simple should unfold in something that is unknowable is baffling."
There are still many questions about the constant – if there’s a pattern to the more than trillion calculated digits and that pattern’s possible meaning to the universe as a whole – but when March 14th rolls around, scholars celebrate the fun side (yes, there is one) of math and science. Here at the Scholarships.com headquarters, we partake in lots of pie eating. How will you pay homage to Pi today?