A Slice of Pi

Date March 14, 2008

It was a year ago to the day that I pursued my first job here in Thailand at the Phuket Gazette. I had met with the Managing Editor at a local restaurant and was given the job on the spot. He requested that I send him a writing sample and since I didn’t have a stockpile at hand, I jotted this one down and sent it his way. Give it a read and see if you can start to find examples of ‘Pi’ in your daily life. This one also goes out to Mr. Gene Brisbane.

Take A Slice Out Of The Delicious Offering Of Pi

Is it a precise, everlasting series of digits, or does it offer insight into the entity that is our natural world? The foremost is proven and irrefutable; however, the latter has certainly been a topic of debate since antiquity, and will likely continue for eternity.

The number expressed as “Pi” is a mathematical constant expressing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is commonly expressed as Ï€, or 3.14. However, the fun doesn’t just end with the second decimal for this is a number that continues endlessly without ever reaching a rational state. It has been calculated to the billionth decimal, and, even at that state, continues infinitely. This is the reason it has caused numerous individuals throughout history to withdraw themselves from contemporary life and ceaselessly investigate the wonder that is Pi. March 14th marks the celebration of this magic number from scholarly types who have a PhD in Pi investigation to the common person who observes Pi every day, but has yet to realize the beauty that lies within.

Therefore, when you awake everyday to observe the rising sun, you can appreciate an occurrence of Pi, and when you take one last gaze at the moon before you lie to rest for the evening, you can appreciate an occurrence of Pi, and, lastly, as you exist everyday as a composition of double-helix DNA strands, you can appreciate an occurrence of Pi each and every second that you are alive. Never forget the mathematics within our world, but for all you compulsive types out there, don’t forget to eat, sleep, and socialize as well.

Numerous other celebratory days exist throughout the year to honor the approximations of Pi. February 27th is the day in which the earth has traveled one radian since the New Year. July 22nd is celebrated because of the fractional relationship 22/7 which results in Pi. November 10th is celebrated because it is the 314th day of the year, and, finally (a word that is never associated with Pi), December 21st at exactly 1:13 p.m. which is the 355th day of the year divided by 113 which results in Pi. Geniuses and novices alike, go out and investigate the world through the use of mathematics, and do not be afraid if you end up with an incorrect result for the world will always continue to produce erasers.

“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.”

—Bertrand Russell, The Study of Mathematics

Additional Resources for Investigation:

Darren Aronofsky’s – Pi

Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4, Pt.5, Pt.6, Pt.7

David Blatner – The Joy of Pi


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