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Celebrate Pi on 3-14

This article first appeared in the 3/13/20 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Celebrate Pi on 3-14

 

 

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise

 

The symbol π, or pi, is very important in math and science because it helps us solve problems that involve circles and other round shapes.  The circular measurement of a circle is called the circumference, if you chop it in half and measure from one side to the other is called the diameter, and half the diameter is the radius.  If we were to know one of those measurements, we could use pi to solve all the other parts.

 

Pi is an irrational number, which means it cannot be expressed as a fraction, and its decimal numbers never repeat or have any pattern.  Even though super computers have calculated pi’s decimal digits to the trillions, most of the time we use 3.14159, or even just 3.14, to do the calculations we need.

 

Before pi was discovered or widely used, many scientists would draw a sided shape closely around the circle, such as a hexagon or octagon, and calculate the area of that shape and figure it was close to the circle.  Some cultures likely used an accurate approximation as far back as 2500BC, and each one chose their own symbol.  The Greek letter π was used early because it was the abbreviation of the work ‘periphery’ and would be used as a ratio fraction with diameter or ratios for circle calculations.  One of the earliest uses of π was in the early 1700s by mathematician William Jones.  Others had used it before him as ratios, but he was one of the first to use it on its own to represent 3.14.  After this the use of the Greek letter π became more and more common place as many mathematicians were in communication with each other and more and more adopted the symbol to represent 3.14.

 

Now we use π to solve math and science involving circles.  To figure out the circumference of a circle, we just need to use the simple equation of C= πd, or the circumference is equal to pi times the diameter.  Because π is a constant, all you need to know is one other piece of the equation to solve the rest of it.  The circumference of a circle will always be 3 times the diameter, plus a little bit more.

 

Come by Explorit on Saturday, March 14 between 10am-5pm to celebrate Pi Day with us!  Admission is $6 Members/$8 Non-Members, free for ages 2 and under.  We will have a variety of activities and crafts that are themed around pi and circles.  Complete a circle scavenger hunt around our exhibit spaces. 

 

At 3:14pm we will have a drawing for 2 free pies, courtesy of Ikeda’s Market.  Come by, have fun, and help us celebrate Pi!

 

 Explorit's coming events:

 

  • Become a member of Explorit!  Membership grants you free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, camps, and workshops, and gives you ASTC benefits.  For more information or to purchase or renew your membership visit www.explorit.org/join/membership-levels or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.

 

  • Summer Science Camp registration is open!  Weeklong camps from 8:45am-12pm for kids entering grades K-6, with one evening camp for grades 6-10.  Prices are $125 Members/$150 Non-Members.  Registration available online at http://www.explorit.org/programs/summer-camp/summer-and-vacation-classes.

 

  • Extended public hours: 1-5pm every day during the week of April 6-10.  Regular hours resume Saturday, April 11.

 

 

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