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Article Summary: "Of course you can always have a slice of pie on Pi day. Pi day is celebrated on March 14th each year. So what is Pi and what does it mean? Pi is a mathematical operation that is used in many mathematical equations. "

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What's Up with Pi: Apple or Blueberry?

What is up with Pi? No it is not spelled incorrectly. So that means that you will not get to have a slice of apple or blueberry pie. Of course you can always have a slice of pie on Pi day. Pi day is celebrated on March 14th each year. So what is Pi and what does it mean? Pi is a mathematical operation that is used in many mathematical equations.

There have been many attempts to explain Pi = 3.14. One of those who explained Pi was Archimedes. He used Pi to explain how to calculate the circumference of a circle, along with finding the area of circle. He used this to help explain the how the Egyptians built their pyramids. The Egyptians used this simple mathematics operation to determine the dimensions of their pyramids, especially the Great Pyramid.

Pi uses the Greek symbol ? as short expression of 3.14. The 3.14 is an infinite number that never repeats. So lets look at the number

Pi = 3.1415926535897932384626 43832795028419716939375 105820974945923078164062862 08986280348253 42170679

and continues on forever. We typically use the short version of 3.14, sometimes 3.1415, however two decimal places is enough.

We can use Pi to determine the area of a circle by using the formula 3.14 x r2 = area (r = radius). Let's look at an example: 3.14 x 102 = 3.14 x 100 = 314. So the area of a circle is 314.

Now let's look at finding the circumference of a circle. 3.14 x r = circumference. 3.14 x 10 = 31.4. If the radius of a circle is 1, then the circumference will be 3.14. This is a short cut to finding the circumference if the radius is in multiples of 10.

Pi is used in many higher level math equations, when you enter algebra, trigonometry, and calculus Pi is used for solving some problems. Therefore a thorough understanding of Pi is important to lay the foundation for future mathematics.

Of course when using term Pi there are always some people who come up with humorous ways to use the term. I already gave you one with March 14 being Pi day because it is 3 14. If you check out fun math classes you will see them decorating pies (spelled right this time) and then eating them for fun. You will see Pi tee-shirts appear. Let's take a look at some more fun facts about Pi:

  • The fraction 22 / 7 is can used to replace 3.14
  • Pi has no zeros in the first 31 digits
  • Pi is an irrational number
  • People generally think that the Pi is normal, but is it?
  • Pi is a transcendental number, meaning not capable of determining because it has no end
  • Pi has been calculated out to over a 2 trillion digits and still no end was found using super computers
  • The Babylonians (modern day Iraq) recorded the first value of Pi around 2000 BC
  • In the first 6 Billion spaces the 0 occurs 599,963,005 times, 1 occurs 600,033,260 times, 2 occurs 599,999,169 times, 3 occurs 600,000,243 times, 4 occurs 599,957,439 times, 5 occurs 600,017,176 times, etc.

There are people who are obsessed with the Pi. For example the Pi was first calculated to 35 digits in 1610 and to 140 digits in 1789 by hand. An English mathematician spent 20 years calculating Pi to 707 digits, starting in 1863. If you want to calculate the circumference of the universe visible by humans, you would only need 43 digits. All these extra digits are just for fun as obsessed mathematicians try to find the end of the number.