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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day

It's pi day here in China, where schools, teachers, and math geeks celebrate the mysteries of the transcendental number pi, the number related to the circumference of a circle, the behavior of light, an occasional Egyptian hypocephalus, and, well, pretty much everything. Pi crops up in all manner of formulas, equations, and solutions to the problems of life. To plumb pi and its mysteries is to encounter endlessness and beauty within seeming chaos. There are many lessons of life one can draw from pi. 
By the way, did you know that your social security number, you phone number, and even the digital representation of your favorite hymn can be found within the endless digits of pi? You can find search for specific strings in the first 2 million digits of pi here. Longer strings may require much longer searches.

Here's a confession: when I was a teenager, about 14, a friend and I memorized the first couple hundred or so digits of pi. One day in science class my friend and I did a memory trick where he pretended to rattle off random digits, around 75 of them, as someone recorded the numbers, and then I rattled them back perfectly. Just digits from pi, starting a few after the famous 3.14159 opening. Was quite fun, actually. A mental magic trick, sort of, from a geeky amateur magician goofing around in a class that didn't have much of an adult presence at times. This little achievement naturally leads to a reasonable question you may have: why am I not still single??

Fortunately, I grew past that stage and moved on to more important things in life. You know, things like the number e: 2.718281828459045.... already a cool pattern in the random digits of another transcendental number 

4 comments:

Andrea Clark said...

or half-tau day. http://tauday.com/tau-manifesto

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Anonymous said...

One of my favorite jokes, a mini dialog between two numbers:

π: "Get real"
i: "Be rational"

Steve

PS - I am disillusioned by pi, the first 2 million digits did not contain my social security number.

Rich said...

Go celebrate by seeing the life of Pi, good movie and long, 3.14 hours. :)