Pi Day will be celebrated on March 14—3.14. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics khổng lồ represent a constant—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—which is approximately 3.14159.

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Graham Leuschke, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, answers three questions about Pi Day và why it continues to grow in popularity.

Can you tell us more about how Pi came to lớn be?

“People have known for thousands of years that if you want lớn build a round corral for your animals that’s a certain distance across, then you need a little more than three times that much fencing. Babylonians & Egyptians around 3,500-4,000 years ago already knew this ratio was always the same no matter how big the corral was và knew it was in the neighborhood of 3.12 khổng lồ 3.16.

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“Archimedes of rongnhophuyen.comacuse was the first lớn prove mathematically that π is a universal constant & is between 3.14 and 3.142.”

Why does Pi Day continue lớn draw worldwide attention?

“Most people first meet π in school, where it’s a completely mysterious figure appearing in formulas we’re asked khổng lồ memorize. Learning a little more reveals even more mystery: It’s the first number folks encounter whose digits go on forever without discernible pattern. For people of a certain inquisitive mindset, celebrating this curious complexity is a way khổng lồ touch something that has hidden depths & makes us feel connected. Plus, people have realized more và more that math can be fun và even slightly silly sometimes. Pi Day is a great time khổng lồ goof around.”

Many perceive math as being a cornerstone of education, but a little boring. How does this day make it more engaging?

“The happy coincidence with the word ‘pie’ plays a big part in this. Everybody loves pie, of course. But there are mathematical reasons as well: you can tìm kiếm for your birthday in the digits of π; you can create ‘pi-kus,’ which are lượt thích haikus but have 3, 1, 4, 1, 5,…syllables per line instead of the traditional 5-7-5; you can even địa chỉ a further degree of difficulty by having the word lengths in your pi-ku count the digits of π. These are games that everyone can play, that connect us to each other và with math.

“It probably also has to vị with the growth and flowering of ‘nerd culture.’ As it becomes culturally acceptable lớn be smart, showing that you’re smart has more và more appeal. References to lớn π and Pi Day can be bite-sized pieces of nerdery that fit in a tweet và advertise khổng lồ everyone around you that you’re a smarty-pants, too.”