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Celebrating Math’s Most Famous Number

March 12, 2021

March 14th has become an annual day of celebration around the world, particularly among those in the technology and engineering communities, as the date is represented by the first three digits of pi (π). The Greek letter “π” is the mathematical symbol that represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. To celebrate Pi Day, we thought we’d put you to the test to see if you know at there is about Pi Day.

1. When was the first Pi Day celebrated?
a. March 14, 1988
b. March 14, 1998
c. March 14, 2008

2. When was pi first discovered?
a. 3000 years ago
b. 4,000 years ago
c. 5,000 years ago

3. Which mathematician is credited with being the first to accurately calculate the estimated value of pi?
a. Al-Kuwarizmi
b. Archimedes
c. Zu Chongzhi

4. How many digits does the current, most accurate value of pi contain?
a. 22.5 trillion digits
b. 31.4 trillion digits
c. 50 trillion digits

5. March 14 is the birthday of which famous scientist?
a. Albert Einstein
b. Stephen Hawking
c. Isaac Newton 

Answer Key

1. A. March 14, 1988 – The first Pi Day celebration took place at the Exploratorium, a San Francisco-based interactive science museum, and featured a circular parade and fruit pies.
B. 4,000 years ago – The Ancient Babylonians calculated the area of a circle by taking 3 times the square of its radius, recording the value of pi as 3.125 on a tablet (ca. 1900-1680 B.C.).
3. B. Archimedes – The ancient Greek mathematician documented an algorithm for calculating π using the Pythagorean Theorem and polygons.
4. C. 50 trillion digits – The most accurate value of pi was achieved by Timothy Mullican (USA) in Alabama, USA on January 29, 2020. Using y-cruncher, a computer program, the calculation took over eight months to complete!
5. A. Albert Einstein – Born in Ulm, Germany, Einstein was appropriately born on Pi Day in 1879. 

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