Let’s All Celebrate Pi(e) Day
By Shlomo Maital
It’s nearly midnight, March 14, 2015, or 3.1415 – yes, it’s still Pi Day, the day we celebrate pi, that incredible number, the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter… 3.1415927 … and another 3.1415 won’t happen for a whole century, until 2115.
What can we learn from pi and Pi Day? New York Times columnist Manil Suri, a mathematician, observes that an exceptionally simple idea – take the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter — can yield an ‘irrational’ number (that’s what the mathematicians call it, because you cannot express it as a ratio of two whole numbers, like 22/7) that is incredibly complex, one that has been calculated to trillions of digits, and those digits are simply random.
But this is not irrational at all. For many ideas of great beauty, their utter simplicity generates rich complexity and interest. Like Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, written in spare simple prose, but with infinite meanings. Or the Bible and its stories.
The simpler your innovation, the more complex its potential uses, because the more ‘stuff’ and ‘wrinkles’ you put on it, the more you limit the users’ imaginations.
So – follow John Maeda. Simplify. Follow Antoine de St. Exupery (author of The Little Prince) who said “perfection is not when nothing more can be added, but when nothing more can be taken away”. And while you’re at it, have a piece of deep-dish apple Pi. Simplicity? Sliced apples (thinly sliced, so they taste better), dab of sugar, cinnamon, and pie crust (I like crumble topping, oatmeal and margarine and brown sugar). There’s nothing better.
Happy Day-After-Pi(e) Day!
And here, just for fun, is pi to one thousand digits. Who knows – you might need it some day! 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679 8214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436