Google marks 30 years of Pi mathematical symbol with a formula doodle

Mindy Sparks
March 14, 2018

Google is celebrating 30th anniversary of Pi Day today with a doodle which honors Pi with a pie. The rise of computing technology has led to an arms race of sorts to calculate ever more digits of pi: the current record was set a year ago by Christian physicist Peter Trueb, calculated pi to 22.4 trillion digits - 22,459,157,718,361, to be exact - outpacing the previous record set in 2013 by 9 million digits. For instance, there are astounding formulae in which smaller and smaller numbers add up to pi and one of the earliest such infinite series to be discovered says that pi equals four times the sum 1 - 1⁄3 + 1⁄5 - 1⁄7 + 1⁄9 - 1⁄11 + ⋯. The doodle has been created by award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel.

It is a ratio between the perimeter of the circle and diameter of the same circle. In today's doodle, an image of ingredients used to bake a salted caramel apple "pie" - Google puns on the word - hints at the tradition of eating pies on this day.

However, many people take it up as a challenge to count up to several hundred of decimal places of pi. Pi is not an unknown figure for students around the world. Mike Keith wrote a book "Not A Wake" entirely in Pilish. Mathematicians classify pi as an irrational number whose decimal value extend to infinity, how ever for most calculation its approximate value as 3.14 is used.

Pi, denoted by the Greek letter "π", has been part of human knowledge for millennia, but it wasn't until 1988 that physicist Larry Shaw organized what is now recognized as the first "Pi Day" celebration at the San Francisco Exploratorium science museum. The challenge, which was created by the Education Office of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, is now in its fifth year. The website also has a record of the problems from previous years.

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