Pi Day: π Day

3/14 is the day to celebrate the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
And here is pi:

Click the picture for more detail.
The first time a day was dedicated to pi was on March 14, 1989 at the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art and human perception in San Francisco. The idea was the brainchild of Larry Shaw, a physicist at the center. On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224),[2] recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day.

Pi Day is celebrated by performing pi-related activities; some serious and some less so, such as creating pi puns; baking, throwing and eating pies; and singing pi songs.

Japanese piphilology has countless mnemonics based on punning words with numbers. This is especially easy in Japanese because there are two or three ways to pronounce each digit, and the language has relatively few phonemes to begin with. For example, to 31 decimal places:

There are even pi-ems composed to aid memorizing the digits of pi:
30 digits:

Sir, I send a rhyme excelling,
In sacred truth and rigid spelling,
Numerical sprites elucidate,
For me the lexicon’s full weight,
If nature gain, not you complain
Tho’ Dr Johnson fulminate.

Katharevousa (archaizing) Greek
Yielding π to 22 decimal places:
Ἀεὶ ὁ Θεὸς ὀ Μέγας γεωμετρεῖ,
τὸ κύκλου μῆκος ἵνα ὁρίσῃ διαμέτρῳ,
παρήγαγεν ἀριθμὸν ἀπέραντον,
καὶ ὅν, φεῦ, οὐδέποτε ὅλον θνητοὶ θὰ εὕρωσιTranslation:
The Great God applies geometry forever;
To define the length of the circle using its diameter,
He produced an infinite number,
Which, alas, mortals will never find in its entirety.
一つ 一つ さん ざん
3. 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5 8 9 7 9 3 2 3 8 4 6 2 6 4 3 3 8 3 2 7 9
mi hitotsu yo hitotsu iku ni mu-imi iwakunaku mi fumiya yomu niro yo san zan yami ni naku
This is close to being ungrammatical nonsense, but a loose translation prioritizing word order yields:
A person is one; the world is one:
to live this way, it’s meaningless, one says, and cries,
“step on it, will ya!” then reads—be the same!
Crying uncontrollably in the dark.

9 thoughts on “Pi Day: π Day

  1. A pity then, that the speakers have replaced the bells.

    I was actually thinking about Tom Hull and his amazing folded paper (modular origami) structures. But they can be quite intimidating. Your cutout fold link looks a bit fussy. I’ve admired Mr. Hull for years. Here is his take on tori:

    Sorry let me know if these links don’t work…

  2. Yes, I understand: plural of torus becoming japanese and all the rest… But I added the Clifford torus because I liked the way it transforms, and the way it transforms reminded me of Escher. (Also it’s got a little pi in it, but I don’t understand the math.)

    I only knew about simple origami: had no idea about “modular” origami. Second batch more interesting than the first. I checked more of Hull’s – amazing designs indeed! And here’s one that’s pure Escher:

  3. Yes, yes. Play on words torus, tori, and a mathematic relationship (also beyond me) to pi . (not to mention what I just realized: that tori means “chicken” in Japanese:

    Your Clifford torus example is amazing, very so much so. I love that animation: wish I could touch and handle it! I don’t recall anything Escher did with tori?

    Here is a link to the pattern for assembling t. hull’s torus: http://mattersofgrey.com/phizz-unit-origami-torus/

    I made his five intersecting tetrahedra back in the day before YouTube. I wish I knew who I gave it to? I remember assembling and re-assembling it until it worked. Diagrams were not easy to decipher: the video makes it look easy!

    If you are interested in origami, then there are many people who would interest you including Tomoko Fuse, Robert Neal, Robert Lang, and a minimalist Paul Jackson.

  4. No, I don’t think Escher did anything with those (except perhaps “Spirals“): the Clifford animation reminded me of Escher because of the way the outside becomes inside etc.

    You had made the intersecting 4hs? You must be very patient!

    Checked those people. I think my vote goes to Jackson’s “organic forms”: unbelievable.

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