How often have you stood outside and looked out the window staring at π (Pi)? The Greek letter π might ring a bell taking you back to a maths class, where you first learned how to solve a circle’s diameter using 22/7. However, Pi appears every day in our lives in various ways — as the moon, a bottle cap, historical monuments, or a round freshly baked pie. The number is a wonder of nature, and to date, its true value has not been found and is in a state of chaos.
On Pi Approximation Day, here are five fascinating ways in which this transcendental number has been present all around us:
Flows with the Earth
Have you ever wondered how flexible a river is? Hans-Henrik Stølum, an Earth scientist, proved that the average curvature of rivers worldwide is Pi. Rivers can be malleable at some points, disrupting the flow of the river. Fluid dynamics reveal that a river’s meandering at this point is equal to seven. Almost like nature wants everything to be in a state of Pi, water overflows from the river’s banks and making an oxbow lake become straight again.
Found in space
The solar system is a vast universe that always leaves us in awe of the galaxy. As all planets revolve around the Sun, it is also our source of light. To calculate how much light each planet obtains, we calculate the size of the surface area using 4πr². Sometimes Pi even tells us if the planet can be habitable or not.
In our DNA
All of us are a big piece of π (Pi). It genetically determines who we are and how we will turn out to be. Don’t believe me? Found in the equation of our DNA strands or the double helix, π comes in between, making up the small steps in the DNA ladder.
One of the seven wonders of the world
The Egyptians built many pyramids with different slopes and heights. Many people believe that the Pyramids in Giza were built on π (Pi). The vertical height and base share the same relationship, just as a circle’s radius and circumference.
If you square the digits of π (Pi), you get the value 9.85, which is almost equal to the acceleration of gravity. Almost seems like a planetary coincidence? What started as a universal number for meter, John Wilkins calculated that for a pendulum of one length-units, we would have a period of two time-units, and solving for g gives us π².
Pi has left many mathematicians confused and astonished through its super nature. Supercomputers have still not been able to calculate its actual value, and yet, π has built our vast universe through the wonders of mathematics.