Celebrate Pi Day - March 14, 2015

According to PiDay.org, a site that tries to "convince the world that math is fun, Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits."

So we here at Beyond the Cover thought we'd bring some thoughts on what you may want to read up on for this fascinating Pi.  Here are some ideas.


In How to Bake Pi, math professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics, powered, unexpectedly, by insights from the kitchen: we learn, for example, how the béchamel in a lasagna can be a lot like the number 5, and why making a good custard proves that math is easy but life is hard. Of course, it’s not all about cooking; we’ll also run the New York and Chicago marathons, take a closer look at St. Paul’s Cathedral, pay visits to Cinderella and Lewis Carroll, and even get to the bottom of why we think of a tomato as a vegetable.

Many of us think that math is hard, but, as Cheng makes clear in How to Bake Pi, math is actually designed to make difficult things easier. Combined with her infectious enthusiasm for cooking and a true zest for life, Cheng’s perspective on math becomes this singular book: a funny, lively, and clear journey through a vast territory no popular book on math has explored before. 

Why Pi? (Big Questions)
By Johnny Ball

 

 

 

In Why Pi? (Big Questions), author Johnny Ball focuses on how people have used numbers to measure things through the ages, from the ways the ancient Egyptians measured the pyramids to how modern scientists measure time and space. Johnny Ball has hosted more than 20 UK children's television series about math and science. He is known for making math not just easy to understand, but genuinely fun and fascinating. A children's book for curious minds.

 

 

 

 

Life of Pi
By Yann Martel

 

Simply with the word "Pi" in the title, we had to include wonderful fantasy Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. 

This is such a rich and beautifully written book, it's characters take you through a magical journey of hardship, hope and love.  Translated into a film, the book is still well worth the read, if you haven't done so already.