Pi Day reveals origins of pi symbol

Episode 154 March 15, 2024 00:04:38
Pi Day reveals origins of pi symbol
Localization Today
Pi Day reveals origins of pi symbol

Mar 15 2024 | 00:04:38


Hosted By

Marjolein Groot Nibbelink Nico Palomo Eddie Arrieta

Show Notes

Everyone knows about pi, the world’s most famous irrational number. And just as recognizable is the pi symbol: . But how did that symbol come to be?

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: This is localization Today, a podcast from multilingual media covering the most relevant daily news in the language industry. [00:00:18] Speaker B: PI Day reveals origins of PI symbol by Cameron Resemussen everyone with a basic. [00:00:25] Speaker C: Understanding of mathematics, X, knows about PI. [00:00:28] Speaker D: The world's most famous irrational number. And just as recognizable is the PI symbol. [00:00:33] Speaker B: But where did it come from? [00:00:36] Speaker D: How did a symbol resembling a Stonehenge. [00:00:38] Speaker C: Formation after one too many drinks become a worldwide icon? [00:00:42] Speaker B: It's easy to take for granted how much work, human intuition, and experimentation went. [00:00:47] Speaker C: Into developing mathematical concepts that underpin our elementary knowledge today. The mathematicians of antiquity in Babylon and. [00:00:55] Speaker B: Egypt, for instance, worked out a ratio. [00:00:58] Speaker D: Of a circle's circumference to its diameter. [00:01:01] Speaker B: Accurate to two decimal places, with chinese. [00:01:04] Speaker D: Mathematicians improving accuracy to seven decimal places. [00:01:07] Speaker B: By around 500 BC. In fact, thanks to invaluable artifacts like the Rin papyri, historians have a solid. [00:01:16] Speaker C: Understanding of antiquity's mathematical understanding dating back to 1650 BC. With over 3500 years of work behind. [00:01:25] Speaker B: The mathematical constant designating March 14 or 315, as PI day seems like the. [00:01:32] Speaker C: Least we modern beneficiaries can do. [00:01:34] Speaker D: Recognition of PI as the universal PI. [00:01:37] Speaker B: Symbol, on the other hand, is a. [00:01:39] Speaker D: Much more recent invention, barely older than. [00:01:41] Speaker B: The United States of America. According to Britannica, the earliest known use. [00:01:46] Speaker D: Dates back to 17 six by the. [00:01:49] Speaker C: British mathematician William Jones, with some scholars. [00:01:52] Speaker D: Speculating that he may have taken inspiration. [00:01:55] Speaker C: From an earlier mathematician named John Machin. The symbol itself is taken from the. [00:02:00] Speaker B: Greek Alphabet, PI being the 16th of 24 total letters. [00:02:04] Speaker C: Prior to Machin, mathematicians used inconsistent representations. [00:02:08] Speaker B: Of a constant, with history today writing. [00:02:11] Speaker D: That other symbols and approximations like 22. [00:02:14] Speaker C: By seven and 355 by 113 were used instead. [00:02:19] Speaker B: Though he did not prove it, Jones. [00:02:21] Speaker D: Believed that PI was an irrational number. [00:02:24] Speaker C: An infinite, nonrepeating sequence of digits that could never totally be expressed in numerical form. [00:02:29] Speaker B: Patricia Rothman wrote for History today in 2009. In synopsis, he wrote, the exact proportion. [00:02:37] Speaker C: Between the diameter and the circumference can never be expressed in numbers. [00:02:41] Speaker B: Consequently, a symbol was required to represent. [00:02:44] Speaker C: An ideal that can be approached but never reached. For this, Jones recognized that only a. [00:02:49] Speaker B: Pure platonic symbol would suffice. Despite its morky origins, scholars generally agree. [00:02:55] Speaker D: That it was swiss mathematician Leonard Euler. [00:02:58] Speaker B: Who popularized the symbol. [00:03:00] Speaker C: In 1727, Euler published essay explaining the properties of air with a greek letter. [00:03:05] Speaker B: Making its proud debut. [00:03:07] Speaker C: Although the ratio itself was expressed as. [00:03:10] Speaker B: 6.28, it wasn't until 1736, when Euler's mechanica that he introduced the 3.15 figure we know and love today. Nearly 300 years later, we all benefit. [00:03:23] Speaker D: From the work of curious minds like. [00:03:24] Speaker B: Jones and Euler with Henny, well, writing. [00:03:27] Speaker D: That engineers use PI to talk to. [00:03:29] Speaker B: Satellites, drive electric motors, size up refinery vessels, measure paper rolls, determine tank capacities, and much more. So whether you celebrate PI Day with a nice hot slice of pie, a. [00:03:42] Speaker D: Rewatch of your favorite math themed movie. [00:03:45] Speaker B: Or doing nothing special at all, it's. [00:03:47] Speaker D: Always worth sparing a moment to remember. [00:03:49] Speaker C: The individuals who laid the foundations of the modern world. [00:03:55] Speaker B: This article was written by Cameron Rasmussen, a writer and journalist. [00:03:59] Speaker D: His first job out of the University. [00:04:01] Speaker C: Of Montana School of Journalism took him to San Point, Idaho, as a staff. [00:04:06] Speaker B: Writer for the Bonner County Daily Bee. [00:04:08] Speaker C: Since 2010, he's honed his skills as. [00:04:11] Speaker B: A writer and reporter, joining the multilingual staff in 2021. Originally published in Multilingual.com March 14, 2024. [00:04:22] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to localization today. To subscribe to multilingual magazine, go to multilingual.com, subscribe.

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