From the man who memorized its first 70,000 digits to the insane true length of the number, these pi facts will make any math fan happy.
Every March 14, we — well, at least the math geeks among us — celebrate Pi Day. The reason is simple: pi, the mathematical constant representing the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter, is often written as 3.14, as is March 14. But the truth about pi — very likely the most important, and most mysterious, number on Earth — is a whole lot more complicated.
Here are some pi facts and pieces of Pi Day trivia that you may not have known:
- Pi has never, and likely will never, be calculated to its final digit. Thus far, some of the world’s most powerful computers have calculated pi to over 13 trillion digits. But even at that many digits, no predictable pattern has emerged.
- There exists an incredible subculture of people committed to memorizing as many of those seemingly infinite digits as possible. The current Guinness World Records holder is Rajveer Meena, who recited pi to 70,000 digits over the course of ten hours on March 21, 2015.
Akira Haraguchi was filmed reciting pi to 100,000 digits in 2006, and claimed to have recited it to 111,700 digits in 2015, but, for undisclosed reasons, his claims have not been accepted by Guinness.
- Some pi memorizers use mnemonic devices to help them, creating poems (known as “piems”) whose word lengths correspond to pi’s digits (a three-letter word followed by a one-letter word followed be a four-letter word and so on). In 2010, mathematician and author Michael Keith even wrote a whole collection (entitled Not A Wake) of poetry and stories whose 10,000 words have lengths that correspond to the first 10,000 digits of pi.
- By incredible coincidence, Albert Einstein, still perhaps the most celebrated figure in science and math (and whose general theory of relativity makes crucial use of pi), was born on Pi Day, 1879.
- If you hold 3.14 up to a mirror, the image you’ll see looks an awful lot like “PIE.”
Next after reading these pi facts, let this video show you the surprising beauty of mathematics.