Mathematics is a language unto itself, frequently referred to as the “universal language.” Early evidence of the mere thought of mathematics dates back to prehistoric times, in which our ancestors kept track of things by notching tally’s and marks into bones. Sumerian and Babylonian mathematics was a base 60 numeric system, which could be counted physically using the twelve knuckles on one hand and the five fingers on the other hand. Babylonian tablets between 1800 and 1600 BC cover topics like fractions, algebra, and methods used to solve cubic equations. One tablet lists the squares of numbers up to 59, and another gives the estimate for Pi of 3 1/8 or 3.125 (which mathematicians consider as a reasonable approximation to the real value 3.1416).
Wait a second…
3.1416 is Pi. Okay, 3.14159 if we’re not rounding
And today is March 14, 2016, which must mean today is Pi Day!!!
Pi Day is actually celebrated on March 14th (3/14), around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.
Mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles, and found that Pi was approximately 22/7. In 1706, The Greek letter π was first used, by William Jones. Since “p” was already used for “perimeter” π became adopted by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737.
Fast forward to modern times, over one trillion digits past the decimal have been calculated for Pi, although only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe! How many digits can you memorize? Here, this will get you started: 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375
To celebrate Pi Day, I will be indulging in a slice or two (or 3.14159265358979) of Banana Cream Pie. Not only my personal favorite, but a family favorite traditionally consumed in celebrating our family dog’s birthday! The origin is unknown but pie experts believe it was created in the Midwest. Do you have a favorite pie? Check out this fun website to see if it is on the list of Irresistible International Pies for Pi Day.
By Kelly Sorfleet, Marketing & Communications Intern