#PiDay + 1

I guess that it only makes sense with everything else that has gone wrong, having PiDay on a weekend doesn’t come as a surprise. For the uninitiated, PiDay = 3.14 or March 14. PiDay should be celebrated – well in schools if nowhere else.

It’s something that the mathematics geek in me enjoys every year. I’ll poke around with my Pi Stuff Collection and some of the the resources that I’ve tucked in there. To be honest, it was something I got excited about when in school and university as well as teaching. But, quite frankly, it’s something I’ve never actually used in real life.

Walking about, I see it everywhere but I’ve never had the urge to whip out my calculator to check the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. We all have done many mathematical questions in class that required the use of π but probably never really appreciated what a special number it actually is. I can recall it as being approximately 22/7 and then later 3.14 when we learned how to use calculators and multiply with numbers with decimal places. I even committed more digits to memory for some reason – 3.1415926535 and then it continues. If you need to know 100,000 digits, check this out. 100,000 Digits of Pi.

It brings to mine a mathematics class in high school where the teacher had written out the digits on a continuous roll of paper that went right around the classroom

But the skeptic in us knows

That will alienate any friends in the industry I might have!

It’s funny how mathematics which is a discipline area with so much accuracy required would allow 22/7. To see how far off it was, I whipped this up.

The purpose was to compare just what 22 / 7 looks like when compared to the constant included in SmallBasic.

Not terribly close if you’re looking for precision but if you can live with two decimal places, you’re good to go, I guess.

But, π does have a day of its own so enjoy it if you will.

You can see the collection of “Pi Stuff” that I’ve curated in this Flipboard document.

4 thoughts on “#PiDay + 1

  1. Good morning Doug!

    I will confess that it was after 3:14 pm in the afternoon yesterday when I found out that it was Pi Day. In the past I have gone so far as to celebrate the day by taking the first bite of a slice of pie at that point in the afternoon. Yesterday, however, the day wasn’t really on my radar, and that was unfortunate. The landing of the 14th on a weekend probably has something to do with it, but a couple years distance from the classroom is probably also significant.

    I remember learning the 22/7 when I originally encountered Pi, and as an approximation, it works. I never really thought about it too much until you mentioned it, but with only two digits precision it was probably originally used before calculators and when fractions were more commonplace. There are times when you can save some serious calculation effort with cross multiplying and counselling rather than cranking a bunch of digits through a calculator. Fractions are the gateway skill to Algebra.

    Pi is one of the fundamentals of math, and so many of our world accomplishments will have been based upon it, but you are correct in that it is not something that we use on a day to day, or even year-to-year basis. However, it is nice that you can celebrate it in a tasty fashion using something that has both a circumference and a diameter. I’ve always been partial to Apple, myself, with a slice of cheddar and some á la mode on the side. It’s no wonder that my favourite flavour of ice cream at Slickers is Apple Pie with Campfire Cream running a close second. Maybe I will have some pie today.

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