# Why pi (π) is important, according to British mathematician [video]

The ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, or π (/pa˪/; abbreviated as “pi”), is a mathematical constant that is roughly equivalent to 3.14159. Numerous formulas in physics and mathematics use the number π. Since it cannot be precisely stated as a ratio of two numbers, it is an irrational number. However, fractions like 22/7 are frequently used to approximate it. As a result, its decimal representation never ends and never goes into a pattern that repeats itself. Since it is a transcendental number, an equation including only finite sums, products, powers, and integers cannot have it as a solution.

The idea that π is transcendental suggests that the age-old problem of squaring the circle with a straightedge and compass cannot be solved. π’s decimal digits seem to be dispersed randomly[a], yet no evidence to support this theory has been discovered.

Mathematicians have been attempting to expand their knowledge of π for millennia, occasionally by precisely calculating its value. For practical computations, ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians and Egyptians needed rather precise estimations of π. Greek mathematician Archimedes developed a technique to calculate π with arbitrarily high accuracy in 250 BC.

Using geometrical methods, mathematicians from China and India approximated π to seven and five digits, respectively, in the fifth century AD. A millennium later, the first computing formula for π was found, based on infinite series. The Welsh mathematician William Jones is credited for using the Greek letter π to denote the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter as early as 1706.

Soon after calculus was developed, hundreds of digits of π could be calculated, which is sufficient for all realistic scientific computations. However, new methods have been developed by mathematicians and computer scientists in the 20th and 21st centuries, which when coupled with increased computing power, have allowed the decimal representation of π to reach several trillions of digits.

The development of effective algorithms for calculating numerical series and the human desire to break records serve as the driving forces behind these computations. Stress testing consumer computer hardware and supercomputers have both been accomplished through the massive computations involved.

Owing to its association with circles, π can be found in numerous trigonometric and geometric formulas, particularly those that deal with circles, ellipses, and spheres. Formulas pertaining to fractals, thermodynamics, physics, electromagnetic, cosmology, and other scientific subjects also contain it. It also occurs in fields unrelated to geometry, such statistics and number theory, and it can be formulated in modern mathematical analysis without mentioning geometry.

π is one of the most well-known mathematical constants, both inside and outside of science, due to its widespread usage. Numerous books have been written about π, and news headlines are frequently generated by record-breaking computations of the digits of π.

British mathematics educator, Eugenia Cheng; author of beyond infinity, in a video has explained why π is important. She went on further to explain why π is needed in our everyday lives.

Pi is now important that it is celebrated on March 14 as Pi Day. Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (the 3rd month) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant figures of π. It was founded in 1988 by Larry Shaw, an employee of the San Francisco science museum, the Exploratorium.

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