Sunday, March 14, 2010

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288...

what is so special about Pi, anyway? Sure, it's famous, but why? Well, today, national pie day (March is the third month, so we write "3", then it's the fourteenth, and then 3.14 is the first three numbers of Pi..), I decided to find out some things about pi. First, Pi is an irrational number. An irrational number is a number that has no end, and that have no patterns. pi has been traced out to many millions of numbers after the decimal point, but it hasn't come close to the end, and there is no traceable pattern, as far as we can tell.
The symbol we associate with Pi (There is a picture at the top of this post), is really the Greek letter for "P". William Jones, a Welsh mathematician was the first person to use this letter as the sign for pi, in 1706. The ancient Egyptian mathematicians found pi to equal 3.16, and Ptolemy figured it out to 3.1416. (all is right except for the "6" at the end. It's really "5".) Pi is a very useful number. If you multiply pi times a diameter of a circle, you find out the circumference. If you multiply Pi times the radius of a circle squared (meaning that, if, for example, you measured the radius, and it was four, you would multiply four by four. If it was sixteen, it would be sixteen by sixteen, eight would be eight times eight, and so on and so forth.), you get the area of the circle.

3 comments:

Drakonis said...

Hello from a Freshman in California. You just wrote half my paper! Thank you!

Angela said...

You're welcome?

Anyone said...

you know its spelled "Pi day" right?