All of us have heard about “Pi (π)” as it is a mathematical constant that has an approximately equal value to 3.1415 and it also appears in a lot of formulas in mathematics as well as physics. It’s also celebrated as the Pi Day holiday on March 14 and today we would discuss more about history of Pi.
What Pi (π) is?
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter of the circle. I know it’s not easy to understand it in one line so if for example if we take a circle and then try to divide its circumference with its diameter you’ll mostly every time get the same answer which would be a number more or less than three. Here’s more about history of Pi.
The value of Pi is 3.14 and that’s why March 14 (3/14) is celebrated as Pi Day and the history of Pi this holiday has a specific reason for its date. But here one thing we have to keep in our minds is that Pi is an irrational number so the ratio of the circumference to diameter is not always equal to 3.14 and hence, it cannot be proven as a simple fraction.
When the value of Pi is expressed in the decimal form there would be an infinite series of numbers so actually, the value of Pi is 3.1415926 and it would go on.
History of Pi (π)
Now, let’s take a look at History of Pi which is also a centric holiday and how did it all start. Pi has been known for over 4000 years now and thus it was discovered 4000 years ago.
Who first discovered Pi is another question here so to answer that it’s not exactly known by anyone who was the first to discover Pi but historians at that time said that Egyptian and the Babylonians (c. 2000 BCE) used 3.125 to approximate pi, a value they obtained by calculating the perimeter of a hexagon inscribed within a circle and assuming that the ratio of the hexagon’s perimeter to the circle’s circumference was 24/25.
The Rhind papyrus (c. 1650 BCE) indicates that ancient Egyptians used a value of 256/81 or about 3.16045. Both these cultures started using this concept but it also said that they couldn’t find the first few decimal places correctly.
If we look into history of Pi the Greek mathematician around 250 BC “Archimedes” who was from Syracuse tried to develop a method through which he got a much closer approximation to the value of Pi. What he did was he used the “Pythagorean Theorem” to find out the areas of two polygons as he marked a polygon inside a circle and then placed a circle inside another polygon.
Through this Archimedes got the upper and lower limit of the area of both the circles as he started with a hexagon and frequently increased the number of the sides of the polygon. And that’s when Archimedes was able to show that Pi is between the value of 31/7 and 3 10/71 and their decimal value is 3.1429 and 3.14089.
More Approaches for History of Pi (π)
After Archimedes, the calculation for history of Pi this holiday and its decimal places continued to get calculated by Indians, Chinese, Arabians. By the end of the 17th century, however, new methods of mathematical analysis in Europe provided improved ways of calculating pi involving infinite series.
Isaac Newton also continued working on binomial theorem to calculate Pi to 16 digits even Indian Mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujan in the early 20th century tried to bring more systematic ways to calculate Pi which was later incorporated into computer algorithms.
In the early 21st century, computers calculated pi to 31,415,926,535,897 decimal places, as well as its two-quadrillionth digit when expressed in binary (0).
William Jones who was a Welsh Mathematician brought the idea of using the Greek letter π or Pi to represent this unique constant in history of Pi in the year 1706.
Pi occurs in various mathematical problems and has played an important role in the history of Pi involving the lengths of arcs or other curves, the areas of ellipses, sectors, and other curved surfaces, and the volumes of many solids.
It is also used in various formulas of physics and engineering to describe such periodic phenomena as the motion of pendulums, the vibration of strings, and alternating electric currents.
Did you know? That is the year 2020 in January Timothy Mullican who is a cyber security analyst calculated Pi to 50 trillion places which are unbelievable as in the history of Pi it broke the record of 2019 where Emma Haruka Lwao who is a computer scientist made a record calculating Pi to 31 trillion places.
Pi Day the Centric Holiday
Pi day is celebrated as the centric holiday or International holiday on March 14th and it was an Exploratorium in 1988 in San Francisco. People celebrate Pi Day in various ways, challenging each other on how many decimal places they can remember, and the most favorite part is eating and baking pies.
A fun fact here you can celebrate Pi Day as well as one more thing on March 14th which is Albert Einstein’s Birthday!
With time computers would get faster and better and we would be able to fully untangle Pi but not it would happen as we can never get to the end. And this was all about history of Pi the centric holiday.
I hope this article was informative for all of you. Do let us know if you have any queries in the comments. Thank you!