Pi Day – What's the Big Deal?


Tom and I, being math podcasters, were forced by a code of mathematical obedience to do a  podcast in honor of pi day (March 14th). Yes, $latex pi$, the Greek letter turned mathematical object, number, and spawner of cults across the world.

Both Tom and I approached this topic with hesitation.  You see, while the most common response that math-folk like us get when we tell someone the we are math people is something akin to fear, distrust, disdain, and outright horror.

But, the second is a kind of strange respect normally reserved for guru’s and shaman.  A common refrain that accompanies this type of reaction is something like this, “Wow, you do math. That’s so … like … cool.  I really like pi myself.  It’s part of everything.  It’s, like, at the center of the universe …”

Frightening, to say the least.

But we are hardly the only people to have experienced such weirdness.  The Greeks suffered all manner of cults that worshiped this little unassuming number/letter.  And I’m sure some of them have survived to this day.

Tom and I aimed to dispel some of the myth of pi.  It’s just a number.  A weird number, yes.  Lot’s of applications to lots of cool stuff, yes.  But, mystical, no.  Our relationship with $latex pi$ is purely platonic (get it, Platonic … Greek … OK, that was bad).

Here’s the link to the podcast again.

In this podcast:

  • Tom and Nick are not as happy with Pi Day as you’d expect.
  • Why do Hippies like Pi so much?
  • Where does pi come from, and why do we care?
  • Is mounting a Ferris Wheel on a Flat-Bed Truck a good idea?
  • How many digits of pi can YOU recite?  I’ll bet not 69,000!
  • Nick and Tom give you back 23 hours and 40 minutes of your life … ish.

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