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Think You Know Everything About Pi? Think Again

Dear Kid,

Once again, it is Pi Day. Amazingly, it comes around every year.

You might think that I have already shared all there is to know about Pi (the Number, not the sister person). Turns out, you’d be incorrect, my friend. Because after hours of research (and by “hours” I mean 3.14159265 seconds), I have found Wildly Interesting Information you don’t know about the number Pi.

Are you sitting down? Because this one is a stunner.

Pi had to be Invented.

Not just Back In The Day when people were sitting around making up numbers (“What shall we call that thing that comes after 2 and before 4? 3? 3? Does everyone agree? 3 it is.”). Pi was invented in relatively modern times (and by “relatively modern times” I mean 1706).

Here’s what happened.

Everyone (and by “everyone” I mean relatively few people) knew that that there was a ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter and that the ratio was a constant but no one had come up with a cutesy name for it.

Meanwhile, in Wales, a math teacher named William Jones was having a bad day. He was completely out of useless ways to torment his students. So he invented Pi, and in the worst example of teaching anywhere introduced it 20 minutes before the test, making it a concept that could be approached but not reached in time for a good grade (that’s really clever which you’ll get if you re-read it several times and think mathematically).

William Jones was the first person to use a symbol to represent 22/7; Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, may have been the first to use the symbol pi (sometime before 1783 because that’s when he died).

Pi is an irrational number. This is not the reason it is your sister’s nickname, although it is an interesting coincidence.

Love, Mom

This post first appeared on Dear Kid Love Mom, please read the originial post: here

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Think You Know Everything About Pi? Think Again


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