Here was my introduction to pi (π):
Geometry teacher: today we’re calculating the area of a circle
Students: k what’s the formula
Geometry teacher: $\pi r^2$
Students: what’s $\pi$
Geometry teacher: $3.14$
Students: k proceed
What kind of terrible fucking teaching is that? Just telling my lazy-ass high school self to accept this new $\pi$ number and no questions asked? Shameful. Let’s get some things straight about wtf $\pi$ is and why it’s important. Let’s go.
What even is pi?
The concept pi is easy-motherfucking-peasy. Officially it’s “the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.” In the simplest language possible, that means that if you take any circle and divide it’s circumference (distance around the edge) by it’s diameter (distance across), you’ll always get $\pi$, which can be approximated as 3.14. Some people will flex on you and drone on and on with how many digits they know. Fucking NERDS. 3.14 is fine unless you’re on some NASA shit.
Why the hell is it such a big deal?
Ok so people love them some pi. I’ve seen pi tattoos, pi murals, there’s even an entire day dedicated to it (March 14th – 3/14 huehue). WHY? Well a big piece of it is your typical nerdy fanboy shit. Same reason people put the Empire’s crest from Star Wars on their bumper and get Zelda tattoos – people love that shit and go over the top in expressing it. But shit, if you’re into it, you do you.
If you set aside the math hypebeast love for it for a moment, pi actually is a pretty big deal in mathematics. The most obvious example is the one that most people know already: it’s used to calculate various measurements of circles, like area and circumference. That’s where most people’s experience with it stops, but because it’s such a fundamentally important number for circles, it shows up in a fuckload of applications. Anything involving cycles or cyclical behavior is going to be stuck with pi because of a cycle’s relationship to a circle. This includes things like ocean waves and sound waves. It’s also useful in GPS applications (the planet being a sphere and all) and navigating goddamn SPACESHIPS. So overall, considering how often science, technology, and the arts run across circles, waves, etc. it’s easy to see how important pi really is.
People also get off on the fact that it’s irrational – that its digits go on forever. Lots of potential for dick-measuring contests seeing who can recite the most digits from memory. I know it to 5 places and that’s only because of a lame math chant I made up in college: “Sine! Sine! Cosine! Sine! Three point one four one five nine!” That shit’s actually still dope.
So in conclusion…
$\pi$ is dope. Circles are the shit. Math is the key to the universe.