Monday, March 14, 2016

Link Round-Up: Pi Day

Pi Day 2015 Poster (Piet Mondrian style) by Martin Krzywinski
Happy Pi Day!
Today is 14 March which, in American notation, is written 3/14. If you have a certain type of mind you will immediately notice that these digits bear a close approximation to one of the most important numbers in mathematics - pi.  That's why today we celebrate Pi Day.  It's kind of like Christmas, but for math teachers.  Here are some sites to help you get in the festive spirit.


On Pi Day, Let's Gawk At The Beauty And Controversy Of The Math Constant


Elias’ Pi Page – Why is pi always written in the decimal number system? Read, listen to, and look at pi in the simplest of all number systems, binary.

Poems by former CalTech student Eve Andersson: Pi and Friends, Pi is Transcendental

Calculating Pi

Archimedes’ Approximation of Pi – An explanation of the Greek mathematician’s method for approximating the value of Pi.

Archimedes and the Computation of Pi – An alternate explanation of the ancient method for approximating the value of Pi used in ancient Greece.

Buffon’s Needle: An Analysis and Simulation – Buffon’s Needle is one of the oldest problems in the field of geometrical probability. It was first stated in 1777. It involves dropping a needle on a lined sheet of paper and determining the probability of the needle crossing one of the lines on the page. The remarkable result is that the probability is directly related to the value of pi.

Buffon’s Needle – A small applet that simulates the calculation of Pi using the Monte Carlo method.

Digits of Pi

Is your date of birth in pi? Of course it is, eventually. But are you one of the lucky 63% whose special day falls within the first 100,000,000 digits? How about your Social Security Number? That club is even more exclusive. A good tool for the pi-curious.

Pi to One Million Digits – A page displaying the number Pi. (It takes a while to load.)

General Information

Ask Dr. Math: About Pi – A Math Forum which includes a brief history of the number.

Notes on Pi – Offers an introduction to the most famous ratio in mathematics and one of the most ancient numbers known to humanity.

Talking About Pi – History, computational methods, literature, art, and more about the magic number pi.

History of Pi

History and Philosophy of Pi – Probably no symbol of infinity in mathematics has evoked as much mystery, romanticism, misconception and human interest as the number and Greek letter of Pi. Interesting facts and trivia about Pi.

How a farm boy from Wales gave the world pi - One of the most important numbers in maths might today be named after the Greek letter π or “pi”, but the convention of representing it this way actually doesn’t come from Greece at all. It comes from the pen of an 18th century farmer’s son and largely self-taught mathematician from the small island of Anglesey in Wales.

Pi Through the Ages – A brief, but intriguing history of Pi, including a Biblical reference.

Holiday Pi Day – Make your own Pi Day greeting cards online.

Slice of Pi, Anyone? – About Pi Day and the transcendental number, by John Shepler.


The Pi- Search Page – It is believed that any finite sequence of digits will eventually occur in the representation of Pi. Want to find where the first occurrance of your birth date is in the sequence of digits? (Note that this only searches the first 200 million digits so not all long sequences (11 digits or longer) will appear.)

Where is your Birthday – Here’s a search engine that finds and shows you where in Pi your birthday first occurs.

Math behind Pi

Are the Digits of Pi Really Random? – An article reports progress towards answering the question from a theoretical perspective. This article claims that applying the standard tests used to evaluate “psudo-random sequences” gives the result that Pi is a good but not great source of random digits. Looking at the first 10,000 digits, most would conclude that it really isn’t random. But then, humans are very good at seeing patterns that aren’t there.

Dr. Math Answers Questions About Pi – Addresses student questions regarding how to calculate, formulate, estimate pi.

Elias’ Pi Page – Why is pi always written in the decimal number system? Read, listen to, and look at pi in the simplest of all number systems, the binary.

How Stuff Works: Pi – This animated graphic helps to explain Pi and the different ways of calculating Pi, with some related links.

Memorizing Pi

Baby Geniuses Reciting Hundreds of Digits – Let us celebrate this most nerdy 3.14 with a videos of preternaturally intelligent children reciting hundreds of digits of pi from memory.

Mnemonic Odes to Pi – A number of poems whose word lengths are the digits of pi. Lots of fun.

Notable Memorizers – World records of number of digits memorized, etc.


14 accessories to celebrate your love of pi

14 math-themed fashion items that are as sweet as Pi

Joy of Pi – Book by David Blatner, telling the story of pi and humankind’s fascination with it, from Archimedes to the modern day Chudnovsky brothers.

Pi Poster – Buy or download a pdf of Unihedron’s snazzy Pi poster, featuring 350,390 digits of pi in lines containing 600 digits each.

Pi Shop – Provides accessories with Pi-Prints on them. Shirts, mugs and bags.


Lucy Scale Developments – Pitch, Pi, and other musical paradoxes.

Maths Pi Song – A song about Pi.

The Pi Day Anthem featuring John Sims and Vi Hart

Pi Day Rap – A parody of the rap theme of the of the film 8 Mile.

The Pi Symphony – An orchestral work whose melodic content is derived from the transcendental number Pi. You can purchase a CD of the synthesized version for $15.00. An orchestral work whose melodic content is derived from the transcendental number Pi. You can purchase a CD of the synthesized version for $15.00.

What is the “Pi” Song? – A brief promo for the PBS series Wired Science.

Pi Day

Why Pi Day 2016 Is Extra Special


Pi Land – Quiz yourself to find out how much you really know about Pi.


Ahead of Pi Day, Matt Parker tries to accurately calculate pi using pies An extended version of the video will be uploaded on Pi Day, but here's your chance to go out and buy pies before that.

Pi is Beautiful by Numberphile

Pi Is (still) Wrong by Vi Hart

This Pi Day is Round by Vi Hart

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