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3.14 Essential readings about π for the day Pi.

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Editor’s Note: The following is a summary of the archival stories.

On March 14, or 3/14, mathematicians and other holiday fanatics celebrate Pi Day by honoring π, the Greek symbol for irrational numbers beginning with 3.14. Pi represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

What is Pi Day and what do we really know about π? Here are three more articles to wrap up your Pi Day celebrations.

stupid holiday

First of all, reflecting on this “holiday” structure, Pi itself is very important, writes Daniel Ullman, professor of mathematics at George Washington University, but celebrating it is ridiculous:

The Gregorian calendar, the decimal system, the Greek alphabet, and pi are relatively modern man-made inventions. ​​Choose arbitrarily among many equivalent options. Sure, a mood-boosting slice of lemon meringue might be what many math lovers need in mid-March, the long end of winter. But there is an absurd element in celebrating π, noting the connection with these moths. This itself has nothing to do with π, just like celebrating Earth Day by eating foods beginning with the letter “E”.

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but still We then looked at the calendar and were dizzy with the sequence of numbers it showed us.

never enough

In fact, while Jon Borwein of the University of Newcastle and David H. Bailey of the University of California, Davis, document, π are having a sustained cultural moment. Appears in literature, film and music:

Sometimes the attention given to the pi is annoying. On August 14, 2012, the US Census Bureau announced the country’s qualifying population of 314,159,265. Of course, such accuracy is completely unreasonable. But sometimes attention is remarkably satisfying.

Come to think of it, pi can be a real source of happiness. Always comforting apple and cherry filling pop tarts. Chocolate cream might be just where it’s at, though.

strange connection

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Of course, π appears in all sorts of places related to circles. But it pops up in other places as well, often hidden in plain sight. Lorenzo Sadun, a professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin, explores this surprise:

Pi also grows in the probability function f(x)=e.-x²where e=2.71828… is Euler’s number. Describes a probability distribution that is common in the real world. Control everything from your SAT score to where your darts are thrown. The area under this curve is the square root of π.

Just enough to make my head spin.

history of bagpipe

If you want to contribute more directly to π Follow the advice of mathematician Xiaojing Ye of Georgia State University. whose approach began thousands of years ago:

The earliest written estimates of pi are 3.125 in Babylon (1900-1600 BC) and 3.1605 in Ancient Egypt (1650 BC). Both estimates begin with 3.1, which is relatively close. with actual values but still far away

at the end of the article You will find out how to calculate π yourself. You can try it at home!

unreasonable bonus

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and since π is an irrational number We’ll give you an absurd addition from Education Professor Gareth Ffowc Roberts at Bangor University in Wales, which highlights the humble beginnings of the π symbol:

After attending charity school, William Jones of Llanfihangel Tre’r Beirdd got a job as a merchant’s accountant. then a mathematics teacher on a warship Before the publication of A New Compendium of the Whole Art of Navigation, his first book in 1702 on the mathematics of navigation. when he returned to England He started teaching mathematics in London. It could start with a class in a coffee shop for a small fee.

Shortly thereafter, he published “Synopsis palmariorum matheseos”, a summary of the current artistic developments in mathematics. which reflects his own specific interests. For the first time, the symbol π was recorded as a number that gives the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

What made him realize that this ratio needed a symbol to represent its numerical value? So why did he choose π? It’s all Greek for us.

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