Moment of Science: Pi Explains Practically Everything!

by Discovery Cube – March 1, 2018

Pi Explains Practically Everything! On March 14, math fanatics all around the world celebrate pi.  This is because the first three digits of pi are 3.14.

Pi is the ratio between the circumference of a circle (the distance around the circle) and its diameter (the distance across). This means that regardless of the size of the circle, the ratio will always be the same. Pi is also an irrational number, which means the digits never end or follow a set pattern. But why exactly does pi have so much fame?

Well, pi can explain practically everything!

In the natural world, pi can be found everywhere, from the pupil of the eye to the spiral of the DNA double helix. You can also use pi to think about Earth’s rotation. Mathematicians depend on pi to help them figure out the volume and surface area of spheres, as well for determining the rotations of circular objects, such as wheels.

Scientists, such as those at NASA, also commonly use the number pi. Pi is important for learning more about planetary objects. Scientists at NASA also use formulas involving pi to calculate the length of time it takes a spacecraft to orbit Ceres, the dwarf planet that is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Since pi is a never-ending number, computer scientists and even supercomputers do not really know all of pi’s digits. But that should not stop you from experiencing pi! Come check out Bubblefest and be inspired to learn more about pi as you watch giant soap bubble spheres fly through the air. Where else can you find pi? Try this fun project at home.

Materials 

  • Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Random Household Items with Circular Shape

Directions

Step 1: Using the items found around your house, trace a bunch of circles ranging in size on several different pictures of construction paper.

Step 2: Create a picture using all the circles you have traced and cut out – such as this bear! Can you make a pig, or a dog, or a room full of bubbles?