## happy pi day

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**Even though it’s a bit late in the evening, I’ll jump out of my usual posting schedule and wish everyone a happy Pi Day today.** I was always a piker in the Pi category – I never made it past memorizing 10 digits (I rounded the third 5 off to a 6 and left it at that). Depending on where you fall on the math geek scale that either makes me a person with better things to do in my life, or someone who could have knuckled down a bit more.

Pi (the symbol is π) is a fascinating number.

π is an irrational number, which means that its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction

m/n, wheremandnare integers. Consequently, its decimal representation never ends or repeats. It is also a transcendental number, which means that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) can be equal to its value; proving this was a late achievement in mathematical history and a significant result of 19th century German mathematics. Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been much effort to determine π more accurately and to understand its nature; fascination with the number has even carried over into non-mathematical culture.

**As an ex-mathematician, I can’t claim any real understanding of the basic, primal mysteries of mathematics like pi. **It’s one of those scary concepts like black holes that just lingered at the edge of understanding for me. Nonetheless, the idea of a number that never repeats and cannot be represented in any other way serves as a nice stretch of the mental muscles on a weekend.

photo credit: Mykl Roventine