On Pi Day 2017, math lovers celebrate the irrational number and NASA puts out a Pi in the sky

Today is the iconicPi Day 2017, the cornerstone of mathematics or simply put the “ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.” Relegated to circles in schools, the infinite nature of Pi makes it challenging to remember. According to mathematician Steven Strogatz who wrote in previousThe New Yorker edition why pi deserves a massive celebration is because it “puts infinity within reach”. According to Strogatz pi digits are never ending and do not reveal a pattern either. Strogatz elevated the status of pi to a cosmic wormhole, joining two separate mathematical universes via the number theory linking circles and geometry. The Pi Day 2017 celebration isn’t just confined to glitzy eulogies — the storied Princeton has an annualPi Day 2017 party that also coincides with Albert Einstein’s birthday, also March 14.

In one of the most interesting line up of events –NASA has set an engaging classroom activity to jog young minds titled Pi In the Sky. The educational activity entails using the “famed mathematical constant pi to solve real-world science and engineering problems – such as calculating the angle of crater impacts on the red planet Mars; measuring the size of the shadow that will fall on North America during the 2017 total solar eclipse; determining the orbital period of the Cassini spacecraft during its final weeks around Saturn; and finally finding a habitable zone around TRAPPIST-1, a star housing seven Earth-sized planets.

Advertisement

Here’s a bit of fun fact — Pi Day has been celebrated by mathematicians and maths lovers around the world since it was first marked at the San Francisco Exploratium in 1988.

What’s more, theSan Francisco Exploratorium is celebrating the 30th annual Pi Day 2017 and father of relativity, Einstein’s birthday with day long events that are open to all.Events range from processions to Pi shrine, Pi-themed antics and of course plenty of pie. Another notable events is ongoing Festival of Numbers at Singapore’s Science Centre with Singapore Prime Minister joining in the celebrations by enlisting some brain teasers. One of the most common puzzles is trying to memorize as many as digits as you can.

Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.