(Gray News) — If we were to celebrate every day for each known integer in Pi, we'd be partying for the next 61.5 billion years.
Since that seems a bit excessive, we'll stick with once a year.
Thursday is March 14 - 3/14 - or Pi Day, a day for stepping back in awe of the mathematical constant that's typically presented as 3.14 for short.
Pi's simplicity - it's a circle's circumference divided by its diameter - is belied by its astounding breadth.
There are, of course, incalculably more integers following the decimal point after 3 than 22 trillion - because, after all, it's infinite. Represented by the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, it's what mathematicians call an irrational and transcendental number because it repeats without duplication or pattern to infinity.
The most current record for actually calculating out as far as a supercomputer will take us, though, belongs to Swiss particle physicist Peter Trueb, who in 2016 computed 22.4 trillion integers of Pi.
According to piday.org, "Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and to eat pie."
If you'd like to try your own hand at memorizing Pi to 100,000 digits, here's how one guy claims he did it. If that feels a bit daunting, you can always go with the 15 NASA says are good enough for its highest-accuracy calculations.
Or feel free to just stick to eating pie. Pizza joints, restaurants, bars and the like nationwide also typically offer $3.14 specials.
Celebrations and promotions have abounded in the U.S. since Congress passed a resolution supporting March 14 as Pi Day.
It's a big deal in education circles, particularly at Princeton University. Albert Einstein lived in Princeton, NJ, the last 22 years of his life and was born on March 14. He was also notably good at math.
People have been fascinated by Pi for as long as they've been playing with numbers. The ancient Egyptians realized it was something special more than 3,600 years ago. The Bible even hints at it.
So go wild, math nerds and pie lovers alike, today is your day.
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