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?

View Full Transcript

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.

Other Episodes

Episode 40

March 01, 2023 00:14:50
Episode Cover

LangOps: Where’s the beef? | February 2023

After reading the features on LangOps in MultiLingual’s 2022 issue, Kirti Vashee’s still not quite sold on the concept, noting that it overcomplicates things...

Listen

Episode 280

December 05, 2022 00:03:41
Episode Cover

Talking politics in a low-resource language

A five-day workshop at the University of Kashmir culminated in the completion of a nearly 4,000-word glossary of political science terminology translated into the...

Listen

Episode 147

June 22, 2022 00:03:04
Episode Cover

Mapping cross-linguistic similarities with Lexibank

Inspired by databases that store genetic information, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has developed Lexibank — a database that aims to help shed light...

Listen