As you can probably guess from the name I chose for this blog, pi is a little bit of an obsession of mine. I mean I have the symbol tattooed on my wrist! I look forward to celebrating the day every year, which for me means teaching others about pi, baking and eating a pie, and (hopefully) watching the movie Pi.
This years Pi Day is a very special one because the date 3/14/15 is a closer approximation of pi, even more if you include the time 9:26:53, or 3.141592653!
For those of you who have forgotten, pi is the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle (C/d) and it is always the same for all circles. Pi is irrational which means it can’t be expresses exactly as a fraction but I remember in school we were taught the 22/7 was close enough. Being an irrational number means it is also infinite and without a regular pattern. So far computer scientists have been able to calculate pi to more than a trillion digits!
I have always wanted to memorize some impressive number of digits but only got as far as 3.1415926535. More than all of my friends but not enough, in my mind, to be a true math nerd. I also find it interesting that the numbers just seem to be so random. I wonder if ever combination of numbers I can think of is in there? I did look up where my birthday is in pi. April 13, 1985, or 41385, occurs 199589 digits in. If I search for 4131985 the sequence occurs 746344 digits in.
Just because pi itself doesn’t repeat doesn’t mean there aren’t a few interesting patterns within pi. There are no repeating number sequences longer 10 digits. There are nine 6’s, nine 7’s, and nine 8’s in there. And there is also an interesting little loop sequence. If you search for 169, you find it 40 digits in. If you search for 40, you’ll find it 70 digits in. If you search for 70 you will find it 96 digits in. If you keep going like that you get 40, 70, 96, 180, 3664, 24717, 15492, 84198, 65489, 41702, 3788, 5757, 1958, 14609, 62892, 44745, 9385, 169, 40….WOW!
As for the movie Pi, it’s written and directed by Darren Aronofsky and it’s about “a paranoid mathematician who searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.” Max Cohen, the mathematician, believes that mathematics is the language of nature and that everything around us can be represented and understood from numbers. If you graph the numbers in any system, patterns emerge. Therefore there are patterns everywhere in nature. He then tries to find the patterns to predict the stock market, which cause others to become interested in his work and a chase ensures as Max begins to lose his mind. It’s a fun film.
So there you go, now you know a little bit about pi and can begin celebrating the day right along with the rest of us math nerds. Go educate others, bake a delicious dessert, and watch the movie.