Pi Approximation Day 2023 is here! On this day, we celebrate the mathematical marvel known as Pi or 3.14. Pi is an irrational number, which means it can never be written as a fraction and has no end. Its decimal representation is endless and its digits never repeat. Every year, Pie Day is observed on March 14 whereas Pie Approximation Day is observed on July 22.
The history of Pi Approximation Day began with the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse. Legend has it that Archimedes was given the task of determining the value of Pi by King Hieron of Syracuse. Determined to fulfil the request, he set out to calculate the circumference and area of a circle using only a straight edge and compass. After a great deal of calculation, he was able to produce an approximation of Pi which he stated was accurate to two decimal places.
Although Archimedes’ calculation was extremely impressive for its time, it was only the beginning of our journey in trying to accurately calculate the value of Pi. Centuries later, mathematicians began to make more accurate approximations as technology advanced. In 1873, a man named William Shanks used a hand-cranked mechanical calculator and arrived at a value for Pi that was correct to 707 decimal places. In 1737, a man named Leonhard Euler popularised the symbol of Pi and an 18th-century French mathematician, Georges Buffon invented a proper way to calculate Pi based on probability.
Using Archimedes's method, mathematicians were able to calculate Pi up to 2 billion decimal places. In recognition of his incredible contributions to mathematics, we honour Archimedes on this day and remember his remarkable achievement.
So take a moment today and celebrate the extraordinary life and work of Archimedes. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for his contributions to mathematics and for giving us the ability to approximate such an incredibly complex number - Pi