Pi Day: A number of things to know

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Are you a math enthusiast or do you just want a piece of pie?

Many people celebrate March 14 (3.14) as Pi Day. But for those who remember their high school geometry, it means more than just eating pie.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  Or, simply put, the distance around a circle, divided by the distance across a circle.  It comes out the same, regardless of the size of the circle.

It's not equal to the ratio of any two whole numbers, so an approximation -- 22/7th -- is used in many calculations. Pi is an irrational number that never ends: 3.1415926535897932384626433832795...for the first 31 decimal places.

Stylin' - math style

Also, to determine the area of a circle, you would multiple the square of the radius of the circle (r) x Pi (3.14). Therefore, if you had a circular garden to buy mulch for, or to tile a circular area in your bathroom, you could determine how much material you need, using this equation.

A few more tidbits about pi and Pi Day:

-- Pi is essential in architecture and construction and was used frequently by early astronomers.

-- Pi has been known for about 4,000 years, but it started to be called by the Greek letter only in the 1700s.

-- There are no occurrences of the sequence 123456 in the first million digits of pi .

-- The true "randomness" of pi's digits -- 3.14 and so on -- has never been proven.

-- Pi Day started 28 years ago at San Francisco's Exploratorium. Physicist Larry Shaw, who worked in the electronics group at the museum, started celebrating pi on March 14, 1988, primarily with museum staffers. The tradition has grown to embrace math enthusiasts from all walks of life.

-- March 14 also happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday.

For more about pi, visit www.piday.org.

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