Happy π Day from Nine Kinds of Pie

π Day is upon us once again!  Here are 3.14 pieces of Pi (as it were).

1. The π sculpture in Seattle, Washington.

Pi sculpture, Seattle, Washington

Photo by Niall Kennedy.

2. π to 1000 decimal places

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078

16406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582

23172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442

88109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603486104

54326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920962829254

09171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727

03657595919530921861173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857

52724891227938183011949129833673362440656643086021394946395224737190

70217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714

52635608277857713427577896091736371787214684409012249534301465495853

71050792279689258923542019956112129021960864034418159813629774771309

96051870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690

83026425223082533446850352619311881710100031378387528865875332083814

20617177669147303598253490428755468731159562863882353787593751957781

8577805321712268066130019278766111959092164201989

This website lists π out to its one millionth digit. So does this one.

3. My childhood obsession with this number.

I have never cared a great deal about the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.  But, when I was a child, I did memorize π out to its tenth decimal point. I also wrote it out on a piece of paper out to its hundredth decimal point — an item I discovered a couple of years ago when cleaning out my childhood archive (then stored in boxes in my mother’s basement). Why write it out to the hundredth digit?  Perhaps I planned to memorize the number all the way out to that decimal?

Most likely, its novelty captivated me.  I loved paging through the Guinness Book of World Records, and even bought a new edition of the book each year.  There, you could learn about Chang and Eng Bunker, or the longest word (that isn’t a technical term or proper noun): floccinaucinihilipilification, which (in case you were wondering) is the act of estimating something worthless.  π is not worthless, but my attraction to it derives more from its oddity than its utility.

The sarcastic among you might observe that an affection for arcane information is a fairly good description of my profession — college professor. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But you would be belittling the fact that knowledge is worth pursuing for its own sake. Knowledge has no obligation to be useful. Or, to put this another way, do not be discouraged if its purpose may initially elude you.  You never know when knowledge might come in handy, or what ideas it might generate.

0.14.  Two Previous Posts on π

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