Happy Pi Day!


Had almost forgotten about this special day if not for PM Lee’s post at 1.59pm earlier today. Missing the significance of that specific timing? Well, actually today is better known as Engineer’s Pi Day as 3.1416 is the most accurate approximation of pi in five decimal digits. In any case, most people would remember its first 3 significant digits so you would at least recognize why today is pi day?!

–is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle. Regardless of the circle’s size, this ratio is a constant which is pi. Yup, definitely something we all learn in high school maths. Personally, I had never really given it much thought back in school days. I punched that particular key on the calculator a lot and I liked perfecting how to write the Greek letter to solve the countless mathematical equations but it really was just a small part of a subject I enjoyed.

It was much later when I learnt more about it – its significance and mystery. It isn’t just about circles. It is an irrational number in which its decimal form neither ends nor becomes repetitive. The digits of pi go on forever apparently in a random fashion yet how can it be random when it is a part of every perfect circle. American Mathematician Steven Strogatz wrote, “The beauty of pi, in part, is that it puts infinity within reach.” It is intimately associated with waves, think ocean tides and electromagnetic waves. As such, it is also present in countless scientific formulas, any technology involving rotations. I can only imagine the kind of impact it had -and has- on science, technology and engineering.

Really wishing I had a pie for one of my meals to celebrate this special day. (Does chicken puff count?) But a simple search on the web brought me to this interesting site as an alternative way to celebrate this famous constant which now has its own designated day supported by the United States House of Representatives.


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