Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi Day

Today, March 14 (3/14), marks the quirky celebration of everyone's favorite irrational number, pi. Celebrations online abound. See, for example, the Google homepage, the "official" pi day homepage, and photos on flickr tagged "314."

Mathemeticians aren't the only ones that have spent quality time meditating on this popular, transcendental number. In his 1985 article, "The Legal Values of Pi, (available on Google Books)" David Singer relays the story of a bill introduced into the Indiana legislature in 1897 (HB 246, Feb 12, 1897). It attempted to legislatively decree official methods for calculating pi and collect royalties from anyone using those methods. Although the bill was recommended for passage by the Committee on Temperance, the Indiana Senate voted it down when it circled through.

-- Patrick Flanagan

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