Celebrating my infinite digits on Pi Day March 14th is the perfect antidote to Trillion Fatigue, because after you've contemplated Pi, smaller numbers - even a trillion - will seem insignificant by comparison
New York, NY (PRWEB) March 11, 2009
March 14 is Pi Day, 3.14 being the first 3 digits of Pi. Pi Day celebrates an inconceivably large number - Pi - a number with trillions, and trillions, in fact an infinite number, of digits.
And, as the Giant Pi puts it:
"Celebrating my infinite digits on Pi Day March 14th is the perfect antidote to Trillion Fatigue, because after you've contemplated Pi, smaller numbers - even a trillion - will seem insignificant by comparison".
In the following exclusive rare pre Pi Day interview the famed Giant Pi , doyen of Pi Day, discusses Trillion Fatigue and its antidote, what it is like to be the rock star of numbers, famous people it has known throughout the ages, Pi Day, its latest work -- Sayings and Wisdom of the Ancient, Irrational, Infinite Transcendental Giant Pi -- and makes some first time ever personal revelations.
Q: Giant Pi, how should we address you?
I am the Ancient, Infinite, Irrational, Transcendental Giant Pi. But you can call me Giant Pi.
Q: I understand you've been trying to calm people down about very large numbers. Could you give us some insight?
A: Yes, people are getting quite concerned about large numbers like trillions. Well, for Pi, a trillion is just starters. I have trillions, and trillions, and trillions of digits - infinite, inconceivable, literally uncountable. Contemplating Pi, and celebrating Pi Day on March 14th is the antidote to Trillion Fatigue - it alleviates it by putting in context.
Of course, as the Giant Pi , an infinite irrational number, my fame is secure. But, I must admit, there is just a tiny bit of concern that the increasing use of large numbers as a commonplace could, at some point, perhaps pose a bit of a challenge.
Q: As the Giant Pi, we understand you have reached rock star status. Could you tell us how this happened?
A: As you know I'm very old. At least as old as the Bible, and older than the ancient Rhind Papyrus of Egypt. The ratio I represent makes an appearance in both of these.
I've kept in shape over the years. I do pi-lates.
And then - after millennia of just being a ratio between a circle and its diameter - albeit a ratio that's expressed as an infinite, irrational transcendental number, suddenly you're an overnight success. People are wearing you, talking about you, memorizing your digits.
Of course, I've had help along the way. Around 300 years ago, an English mathematician by the name of William Jones finally gave me my name and symbol - which he took from the Greek word for perimeter. Unfortunately, Facebook didn't exist at the time. So I had to wait for a very famous Swiss mathematician, Leonhard Euler, to start using the name - and the symbol - to make them popular.
Q: Now that you are, as the Giant Pi, an international celebrity, how does it feel?
Overall it's great - except for the piparazzi.
Q: Giant Pi, you must have known a lot of people. From all the people you've known over the millennia, anyone stand out in particular?
A: Yes, I've known a lot of people. I knew them all. Mathematicians. World leaders. Historical figures. I'll mention just a few of those who stand out:
I remember Pythagoras like it was yesterday. Very smart. But not really a big picture person. I told him on several occasions that he had the perfect name - Pi-thagoras - for a huge future with circles. But he just didn't get it - and got totally hung up with what he called the sum of the squares.
Then, there was Plato. I always liked the sign hanging over the door to Plato's Academy: Let no one ignorant of Geometry enter. Which worked well for a few thousand years when everything was angles, and infinite planes, and points. We used to joke that without geometry, life would be pointless. Back then, when it came to geometry everyone was a Euclidean. None of this fancy stuff. Then about a century ago non-Euclidean geometry gets discovered, and suddenly we've got mathematicians who call themselves topologists running around trying to convince everyone that a mug is really a doughnut. I don't have anything against them of course, and they are charming conversationalists, but if you go for coffee with these people, you'd better have a lot of napkins handy.
Sir Isaac Newton
Newton was interesting. I used to kid with him: I used to say Isaac, most people see an apple - they think pi - you see an apple, you think gravity. Strange fellow. He was fascinated with my infinite irrational complexity. He admitted he'd be ashamed if anyone knew how much time he'd spent trying to calculate my digits.
Thomas Jefferson & Benjamin Franklin
I was good friends your Tom Jefferson. He was very big on buildings with circles. I helped him with the Rotunda design. And Ben Franklin - a real geek. Ingenious with those magic circles. Both of them loved mathematics. They were disciplined creative thinkers with a real grasp of axioms, and extended the notion of 'self-evident' truths beyond the realm of mathematics.
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was brilliant - a really brilliant 20th century mathematician. But a nerd like you wouldn't believe. When the first real general purpose electronic digital computer was built in the 1940's - ENIAC they called it, John decided to use it to compute Pi. I told him - John, you just don't understand people . This is going to be highly addictive. Why don't you invent the Wii instead? But John was obstinate, and sure enough, he sets all the tubes and switches in ENIAC and computes 2037 digits of myself, Pi, in 70 hours. Then - predictably I might add - a few years later, NORC, the Naval Ordinance Research Center, builds a faster, better computer, and calculates way more digits - 3089 digits of pi - in way less time - only 13 minutes. After that it was a slippery slope. Millions of digits. We're up to billions of digits of computer-calculated pi now, and still no end in sight.
Q: Do you have any favorite hobbies?
Yes. I enjoy pi-lindromes. Here's my favorite:
I prefer pi.
Q: I don't want to get too personal, but is there a significant other so-to-speak, for the Giant Pi?
That is kind of a personal question, but I'll be happy to answer it.
It's very hard to have a long term relationship when you are inherently irrational.
But I try to balance that out be being well-rounded.
Q: As the Giant Pi, how do you spend Pi Day?
Then I go to PiDayInternational.org, and read my illustrated history of pi. I inspect the PiOMatic millions of digits of Pi dispensing machine, to make sure its filled with a few digits for anyone with an appetite.
Then I check out the Pi Tshirts, Pi Posters, and Pi Mugs at the Pi Department at MathematiciansPictures.com.
I recite the first million digits of Pi from my giant 4 foot by 8 foot Million Digits of Pi Poster.
And then, I hang out at PiCentral, where, at precisely 1:59 pm on March 14, which equates to 3.14.1:59, the first digits of Pi, I do my famed annual Pi Drop. It's like the New Year's eve ball drop in Times Square and the arrival of Santa all rolled into one. But better. Tens of thousands of my fans watch on the Internet.
And then, I start preparing for next year's Pi Day.
Q: Giant Pi, we know that you have recently started publishing the Sayings and Wisdom of the Ancient Infinite, Irrational, Transcendental Giant Pi, tackling some of life's Big Questions. Could you leave our readers with some of your Sayings and Ancient Wisdom?
A: I'd be happy to.
The Giant Pi On Creation:
What came first, the circle or the Pi?
The Giant Pi on Love:
Love is like Pi, Infinite and Transcendental, Albeit Irrational.
The Giant Pi on Life:
Life is like a circle. You are not on the top, or the bottom, forever.
Q: Thank you, Giant Pi. One last question, which our readers really want to know: Do you eat Pie, and if so what is your favorite flavor?
A: Yes, of course. I love Pie. And although I like all the flavors, I am particularly partial to Strawberry Pi No calories.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Interview with the Pi. Video and B-Roll
Press Photo: Giant Pi Celebrity Runway Photo
Broadcast, Print, and Internet journalists: to arrange an Interview With the Pi, contact KeeperOfThePi @ MathematiciansPictures.com.