QuoteWhy:piMattersEvery March 14th, mathematicians like me are prodded out of our burrows like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, blinking and bewildered by all the fuss. Yes, it’s Pi Day again. And not just any Pi Day. They’re calling this the Pi Day of the century: 3.14.15. Pi to five digits. A once-in-a-lifetime thing.

The beauty of pi, in part, is that it puts infinity within reach.Even young children get this. The digits of pi never end and never show a pattern. They go on forever, seemingly at random—except that they can’t possibly be random, because they embody the order inherent in a perfect circle. This tension between order and randomness is one of the most tantalizing aspects of pi.

I seemingly exist in this neitherworld of tension between order and randomness. Maybe that's why I am one of those wierdo kooks who enjoy the movie Pi.

One of the earliest such infinite series to be discovered says that pi equals four times the sum 1 – 1/3 + 1/5 – 1/7 + 1/9 – 1/11 + ⋯. The appearance of this formula alone is cause for celebration. It connects all odd numbers to pi, thereby also linking number theory to circles and geometry. In this way, pi joins two seemingly separate mathematical universes, like a cosmic wormhole.

...*like a cosmic wormhole*... that gets me out of the binary box. Maybe *that*'s why I wrote this poem.

Gerbil Pi

Inside, those little wire boxes

with little wire wheels,

circumferences, the irrational number pi,

befuddling in never-creations,

go purveyors of binary opposition.

Round and around they go!

A world of circles,

and they never, ever "know"!

*rén 10/09/07*

What distinguishes pi from all other numbers is its connection to cycles. For those of us interested in the applications of mathematics to the real world, this makes pi indispensable. Whenever we think about rhythms—processes that repeat periodically, with a fixed tempo, like a pulsing heart or a planet orbiting the sun—we inevitably encounter pi.

## Comments

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

3.14.15.9.26.53 was hit this morning @9:26:53. However, GMT it was not, at least as televised, but it was reached and won't be again for a 100 years.

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## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Someone give me 22/7 of a cheeseburger!

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

I'll add that to the title line.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Lol.

Cheeseburgers are round; so I guess that's one that came through the wormhole into that other you_ni_verse.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Yeah, I suppose...if you leave out the 20 in 2015! We can all look into the clouds and see just about anything as well.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

No one ever accused Pi of being rational.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

I could have mentioned that, I noticed it. However, as the mathematician I cited in the OP (who personally abhors Pi day) notes, it doesn't really take anything away from the calling attention to pi itself. However people want to call attention to pi, their interpretation of the arbitrariness of human derived dates doesn't make the irrational number pi itself a reading of tea leaves or a reading of the clouds.

That people want to make an issue of March fourteenth as Pi day is a kind of cultural matter.

Like any arbitrary decision to make note of a calendar date for whatever reasons humans do, for some of us it's amusing... as amusing as taking numerology or astrology seriously. For others, I suppose, it's far too serious to have a laugh about it.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Maybe we should addressing pali as pi!

Completely irrational.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Lol. I think he's being more rational than I am. I simply find these things amusing. Is that rational?

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

For my part I can't find anything more rational then being amused by the machinations of the human to entertain or delude its self.

Don't know if that makes me rational or the other, shrug not sure I care either:-).

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

I'm not so sure rational is such a good thing. It's always been implied to be, but I have had some serious doubts about it most of my life.

I think self described and civilized moderns give the rational component of our beings far more importance than it deserves, almost to the point of being deadly. Machines are utterly rational, but devoid of so many of our given human capacities. Yet the moderns strive to be rational above all. And as you've described these moderns, they employ machinations to entertain themselves. Institutions are rational social machines to me, and they are proving to be very deadly ones. Yet moderns are ruled by their institutions.

I consider being amused to be a special moment of joyful human epiphany where we rise above this deadly and dreary institutional rational machinery that rules us. That's my perspective, anyway :-).

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

If pali is pi who is al? I know, you can call me Al.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Without pi, how could I laugh and have an epiphany at the same time?

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

That's a good one!

Why What you Think Isn't So is just the first book on the page, scrolling down shows The Irrational Voter or the myth of the rational voter. Clicking on that first book and checking the bottom for 'Customers also bought', if you scroll right to the next set of books, a Rational/Irrational selection is there. There are quite a few titles explaining why we humans are so stupid.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

I hope that happens more than once a century .ren.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

Me too!

At least I laugh a lot.

And I have epiphanies.

It's really cool when they happen at the same time.

## re: Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15.9.26.53

/Transcendental_number pi. I was reading a little Lewis Carroll/Martin Gardner, and the transcendental number label was one chapter. I hadn't covered this that I can remember when I was in school and still understanding it.

Packing-Carroll-Reversi-Gardner-Mathematical