Yielding the Circumference

I rarely post more than once a week, and never two days in a row. Except for today. But I cheated. This post is from March 14 last year, but since so many more people read this blog now (thank you!), I thought I’d wish all of you a happy Pi Day!

thepracticalhistorian

Today is March 14 (3/14 in the US), which means that millions of nerds are spending the day happily celebrating that most mysterious of irrational numbers, pi. I’ll just briefly explain in case you don’t happen to be a nerd (because the jury’s still out). Pi (which is a stage name because this Rockstar number is too irrational to have it any other way) is the expression of the ratio of the circumference (the distance around) of a circle to the diameter (the distance across and through the center) of that same circle.

English: Illustrates the relationship of a cir...

Ancient nerds discovered that this ratio is constant for any circle and like nerds will do (and this is the reason they generally make more money than non-nerds), they correctly decided that this might be information worth noting. And when I say “ancient,” I’m talking before Egyptians and Babylonians started writing down their various approximations for…

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