Friday, March 14, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Pi

Q. What's so special about the following 3 numbers: 14,457, 102,839 and 1,342,284?

A. At each of these decimal positions in Pi, one can find the U.S. Zip Code of one of my favorite areas in Austin, Texas.

Likewise, if you dumpster-dive down to the 7,724,879th digit of Pi, you'll find today's date: 3-14-2008, also unofficially known as Pi Day, 2008.

Going this deep sub-Pi without supplementary oxygen is one of those areas of math where a B.S. in Google beats a Ph.D. in math any day. Googling "digits of Pi" will take you on some great trips, including one to the excellent Pi Search Page. This site lets you quickly sift through the first 200 million digits of Pi for your phone number, your spouse's birthday, your debit card PIN number and lots of other swell numbers.

Just for laughs, check out the 3D pun at bottom of this page, or the well-named website at:

For other pieces of intellectual Pi, have a look at the Joy of Pi page. Also, visit the Wikipedia page on Pi, where you'll find delights such as the following wonderful graphic (visit the original page to see this in full size and in motion):

What does Pi have to do with radiology? Beats me. Even googling "pi radiology" doesn't turn up much besides one radiologist named "Pi" and a bunch more who happen to be PI's (principal investigators on research grants).

Anyhow, take a second today on 3/14 at 1:59:26 p.m. to celebrate this transcendental constant with what else -- Pie! I'm thinking apple, cherry or marionberry, myself.

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