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Saturday, March 14, 2015


March 14 of the 16th year of every century, which happens to be today--3-14-15--we celebrate Pi Day, where

The number never ends and never repeats.  Pi equals:
  • the circumference of any circle divided by the diameter
  • the area of a circle divided by the square of the radius
  • the surface area of a sphere divided by the product of four times the square of the radius
  • three times the volume of a sphere divided by the product of four times the cube of the radius
Pi was probably discovered before 2550 BC, for the Great Pyramid of Giza's perimeter divided by height equals, about, 2 times Pi.  Archimedes of Greece more than two centuries before Jesus was the first to make a relatively accurate estimate of 3.141.......  Half a millennium after Christ, Chinese mathematician Zhu Chongzhi came up with 3.1416 or so.  Around the 15th century, Indian mathematician Madhavan calculated Pi to 11 decimal places.  In 1707, Welsh mathematician William Jones first used the Greek letter 

to denote this constant ratio.  In 2013, Japanese systems engineer Shigeru Kondo calculated Pi to 12 trillion digits.

So what's happening today?
  • It is Albert Einstein's birthday.
  • The Exploratorium museum in San Francisco, which is generally credited with organizing the first celebration, today gave out a free piece of pie to the first 58 people in line from 9:26:53 AM--3.14159265358.  Our House of Representatives passed a resolution in 2009 honoring this day.
  • Throughout the country there are Pi runs, parties and contests.
There are various Pi songs, and many saw the Life of Pi, only because the name of the survivor on the raft was Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel.  But earlier in 1998 was the film Pi, by Darren Aronofsky, a not bad film rated 87%/85% by Rotten Tomatoes.  Some connect Pi to Mystic Pizza, a Julia Roberts flick, poorly rated, but now cult favorite.  Why?  Not sure.  Maybe because pizza begins with PI.  Perhaps, though, the noteworthy math film is Good Will Hunting, with Matt Damon (who made his debut in Mystic Pizza) and Ben Affleck, with RT reviews of 97%/94%.

Let me end, though, with a few Pi images from the Washington Post (there are 10 if you click on it, plus details are provided):

As I've been warning for the past couple of days, Super Tropical Cyclone Pam did, indeed, devastate the 65 islands of Vanuatu, crippling the quarter million population of the country:

CNN reports unbelievable destruction.  The devastation will only worsen the tragedy as details are disclosed.  Vanuatu, a member of the United Nations, is already relocating its residents because of sea level rise caused by global warming.  Their tribulations took on a higher level of hit from warming ocean temperatures, a potential major crisis looming throughout the globe as hurricanes get more and more powerful.


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