We may not teach a course on geometry at CIMI, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the importance of pi (π). Pi is a mathematical constant that represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians were the first to approximate the number, calculating it to within one percent of its true value. It is an irrational number, meaning it cannot be expressed as a simple fraction and exists as an infinite series of numbers that will never end. When rounded up, the number comes to approximately 3.14. Thus, March 14th is Pi Day.
Why does a marine science camp care about Pi? Pi has all kinds of everyday applications. Think of all the round or rounded things that exist in this world: wheels, gears, eyes, rainbows, round rays. Engineers use pi to build machines. Architects use pi to create their blueprints. Geneticists use pi to understand the structure of DNA. The Earth itself is a sphere, so when an oceanographer measures the movement of the tides or the length of waves in the sea, they need to use pi in their calculations. So go celebrate pi today. Ride a Ferris wheel, eat a slice of apple pie, watch Life of Pi and get inspired by that beautiful scene with the bioluminescence and the whale all over again. Take a moment to watch the sunset and think about how big and beautiful and round it is, then wait for the moon to rise and look at that too. From all of us at CIMI, we wish you a very happy Pi Day.
Written by: Megan Petkovic