Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pi Day is quickly approaching...

I hope everyone has been preparing... Saturday is Pi day (3.14) for those of you who are not aware of the greatest holiday for math teachers. I just thought I'd share we had a 5th grade student memorize the first 124 digits of pi today. The top 2 students (second place went to one of my 6th graders that memorized 62 digits) then got Pie their teacher of choice in the face. How many can you memorize? 


James R Harvey said...

You and your students should be very proud, but I can't help relating something I found about four years ago.

In the first half of the 15th century the Persian mathematician Al-Kashi calculated pi to 14 places. It would be over a hundred years until a European calculated it to 9 places. But that’s not what makes Al-Kashi cool, the Arabs where so much better at math in that period. What made him cool was that he stopped. He observed that, with his pi, the calculation of the circumference of a circle with a radius twice the size of Earth would have a margin of error smaller than a “horse hair” (a Persian unit). Problem solved, next problem. Meanwhile, people are still today using computers to get pi to _hundreds_of_billions_of_decimal_places!! As if there’s something unique about pi because it’s irrational and transcendental, when this is in fact true of the vast majority of all real numbers. Here’s to Al-Kashi, a sane man and a pragmatic!

(comment from a slashdot article "Pi: Less Random Than We Thought")

Sean Harvey said...

Well people use pi as a challenge to see how powerful computers are. Now a days it isn't about the number.