Tag Archives | Pi

Pi, Plato, And The Language of Nature

Brothers Chudnovsky

After I posted an article about technical analysis – an investment method that looks for patterns in the stock market – a couple people commented that it reminded them of the film Pi, about a renegade mathematician somehow using Pi to search for patters in the stock market with a homemade supercomputer in his crummy Manhatten apartment.

Technical analysis was probably the inspiration for the stock market portion of the film, but did you know that the part about renegade mathematicians building supercomputers in their living rooms to calculate Pi is actually based on a true story? Aronofsky almost certainly took the inspiration from a 1992 New Yorker story about the Brothers Chudnovsky.

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Celebrate Pi Day

Sunday March 14th is Pi Day, as well as Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Animation of the act of unrolling a circle's circumference, illustrating the ratio π. Author: John Reid (GNU)

Animation of the act of unrolling a circle's circumference, illustrating the ratio π. Author: John Reid (GNU)

Self-confessed geek Elizabeth Landau reports for CNN on how nerds everywhere plan to celebrate:

The sound of meditation for some people is full of deep breaths or gentle humming. For Marc Umile, it’s “3.14159265358979…”

Whether in the shower, driving to work, or walking down the street, he’ll mentally rattle off digits of pi to pass the time. Holding 10th place in the world for pi memorization — he typed out 15,314 digits from memory in 2007 — Umile meditates through one of the most beloved and mysterious numbers in all of mathematics.

Pi, the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle, has captivated imaginations for thousands of years — perhaps even since the first person tried to draw a perfect circle on the ground or wondered how to construct something round like a wheel.

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