Monday, March 15, 2010

Celebrating Pi Day...

Yesterday, March 14, was “pi” day.  A friend (Clay M.) and his daughter Shayla celebrated by combining a 6th grade class project with a yummy pizza.  The photo at right (by Shayla) shows their pizza cut up into slices and rearranged a bit.  As these pieces get smaller and smaller, the shape of the rearranged result gets closer and closer to a rectangle.  The dimensions of that rectangle are equal to the radius of the pizza and half the circumference of the pizza.  And since
c = 2πr, 
π = c/2r
and you can calculate π simply by dividing length of the long side (22”) by the length of the short side (6.5”).  The result they got (3.338...) is only about 8% off – not bad at all for a kitchen-table experiment!

Now that you've computed π from first principles, you can celebrate by eating the pizza!

I told Clay that he needs to continue his pizza experiments to see if they can refine the value of π just a bit more...