Pi Day is an unofficial holiday commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (or 3/14 in month/day date format). But today is also Pi day. July 22nd (or 22/7 in day/month date format) and the fraction 22⁄7 has a value of 3.142857. This has the same first three digits as pi… So yes, you do have to dig around to find it but the reasoning is there. The elusive little man, Constant π, actually gets commemorated on two separate days of the year.
Pi is a mathematical constant that represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It has been represented by the Greek letter π since the mid-18th century. Pi is an irrational number. An irrational number is a real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers, with b non-zero. Therefore it is not a ratio-nal number. 22/7 is just an approximation (hence why today is called Pi Approximation Day in the USA). Pi’s decimal representation never ends and never repeats, and any fraction will reflect only an approximation.
You could argue that the approximation to two decimal points is a pretty rough one, especially considering that NASA’s calculations involve Pi to 15 or 16 decimal points. Akira Haraguchi set the world record in 2006 for memorizing and reciting the most digits of Pi (1000,000 digits in 16 hours).
In 2010, one researcher calculated the 2,000,000,000,000,000th digit of the mathematical constant pi – and a few digits either side of it. Nicholas Sze used Yahoo’s cloud computing technology to more than double the previous record. It took 23 days on 1,000 of Yahoo’s computers. On a standard PC, the calculation would have taken 500 years.
You can experiment yourself to see how far you get beyond the decimal point in your calculations by dividing 22 by 7.
Still think the three correct digits is really worth celebrating? I say hell yes! Pi anyone?