Pi Day 2018: the math of pi explained, as simply as possible

Pi, explained in one GIF.

Today is March 14, a date that coincidentally spells out the first three digits of pi (represented by the symbol π). Thirty years ago, physicist Larry Shaw decided to celebrate 3/14 at a San Francisco science museum. Since then, Pi Day has grown into a worldwide celebration of math and pastry. Today’s Google Doodle focuses more on the confectionary aspect of the day than the math. It features pastry chef Dominique Ansel (of cronut fame) making a caramel apple pie.

But the math is cool! And much more useful than a pie recipe.

The simplest explanation of pi, in one GIF

If you were paying attention in grade school, you’ll remember pi is the number that describes how the circumference of a circle relates to its diameter (how wide a circle is if you draw a line straight across the middle). If a circle’s diameter is 1, then its circumference is π. If a circle’s diameter is 2, then its circumference is 2π. And so on. Here’s a helpful demonstration of that in GIF form:

This simple relationship has proved enormously useful for math and engineering throughout the course of human history. NASA uses π to calculate the trajectory of spacecraft orbits. It’s essential for engineering anything that involves the motion of circles (like wheels on a car), the area of a circle, or the volume of a sphere. Pi is also extremely useful for describing the motion and shape of waves.

And you can use pi to describe the size of angles. Sure, you may know that a circle contains 360 degrees. But that number, 360, is arbitrary: a relic of the fact that there are around 360 days in a year. We could say a circle has 500 degrees, …read more

Source:: Vox – All

(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *