by extramarks - Academics - March 14, 2019March 14, 2019 PI-ROBABLY THE BEST THING YOU’LL READ TODAY. We’re here to tell you a little more about the quantity which when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference. Sounds like a mouthful? Well, that’s the term that was used to describe ‘Pi’ before the name was coined by William Jones, a not-so-popular mathematician. So, before we get into what makes Pi so delicious (math-wise), what exactly is Pi? In technical terms, Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. However, when it comes to Pi’s practical applications, there are so many important uses of this magical number, that it can be considered pivotal to the advancement of human society. Humans have always been fascinated with the concept of Pi. Records show that the Babylonians knew of Pi approximately 4,000 years ago. They calculated Pi as 3.125. In the Old Testament Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. He did this by using an extremely unique and innovative way – by adding more and more sides to a polygon (he added 96 sides) so that it’s area approached the area of a circle. This technique was also employed by others such as a Chinese mathematician, who used about 200 and then over 3,000 sides in a polygon to arrive at the value 3.14159. The use of Pi was initially limited to circles up until the 17th century, a post which people had the game-changing realization that Pi can be used to calculate areas of other curves including arches and hypocycloids. By the time we reached the 20th century, Pi was used for a wide set of applications in areas such as probability and various mathematical theories. Suddenly, everyone wanted a piece of this Pi. It’s a good thing, then, that Pi is considered to be infinite. It is so vast that people have turned Pi into a language in itself. How? They created a dialect in which the number of letters in the successive words are the same as the digits of Pi. This dialect was used by Mike Keith to write an entire book called ‘Not a Wake’. That’ll take some commitment to read. Pi also has a few interesting quirks. Pi and circles have such a sacred bond that the number 360 is at the 359th digit position of Pi. If that wasn’t enough, the sequence of numbers 123456 does not appear anywhere in the first million digits of Pi. We could go on and on (and on, and on) about Pi, infinitely. But we’ll leave you with the underlying reason behind why humans have such an obsession with calculating the value of Pi. A human brain is a problem-solving machine, we love finding patterns in things. If the human brain can’t find a pattern in something, we try till we crack it. Pi, so far, has completely stumped us in this regard and we as a species will not stop till we crack this code. We can, however, find solace in the belief that we’re all united by something as delicious as Pi.