What celebration of the study of mathematics would be complete without taking a day off for
pie, strike that I mean Pi?
We can pick up a brief history on the numerical letter from Wikipedia which may pique the interest of some readers and its relation to the Temple of Solomon, as it reads…
The earliest known textually evidenced approximations date from around 1900 BC; they are 256/81 (Egypt) and 25/8 (Babylonia), both within 1% of the true value. The Indian text Shatapatha Brahmana gives π as 339/108 ≈ 3.139. It has been suggested that passages in the 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 discussing a ceremonial pool in the temple of King Solomon with a diameter of ten cubits and a circumference of thirty cubits show that the writers considered pi to have had an approximate value of three, which various authors have tried to explain away through various suggestions such as a hexagonal pool or an outward curving rim.
Without getting into the mathematics of the irrational yet transcendent number, the number has a significance too for the calculations involved in the ancient exercise of squaring the circle, a past time often associated in the practice of Freemasonry – hence the Square and Compass. you can read an interesting article on the practice by Bro. William Steve Burkle KT, 32° in a paper titled Musings on the Geometric Properties of the Square and Compasses.
And, if your stuck on the idea of having pie for National Pi day, then NPR has a good write up on the subject with some tasty sounding recipes to celebrate the day with they did a neat story on the day too, with an audio clip on the “Sound of Pi by Michael Blake (the original video has been taken down, but you can still hear his musical arrangement in the NPR piece.
Here are a few more videos that relate the infinitely long series of numbers to musical notes, creating an interesting arrangement of modern sound.
And, if the math isn’t your thing, then just have some pie to celebrate as you continue trying to square that circle, something even Pike mentions in his 28th degree.
You can read more about what others are doing for Pi day at the Pi Day website.