The Pi’s keep coming

Posted by
 March 11, 2016


Following on from Pie Week we have to mention Pi Day 14th March 2016. Just an excuse really to keep thinking of Pies but interesting anyway.

Pi Day, the informal holiday beloved by math enthusiasts – March 14 marks the yearly celebration of the mathematical constant (pi), which represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. More than just a number for mathematicians, pi has all sorts of applications.

Pi is what’s known as an irrational number, meaning its decimal representation never ends and it never repeats. It has been calculated to more than one trillion digits, but 3.14 is often a precise enough approximation, hence the celebration occurring on March 14, or 3/14 (when written in US month/day format).

Bryana Henderson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California, who specializes in planetary ices, uses lasers to explode ice samples and study their composition. “I use pi to calculate the width of my laser beam, which in turn can be used to calculate the amount of energy, or fluence, that hits my ice sample,” said Henderson. “A larger fluence equals a bigger explosion in the ice, so this is a very important parameter for us.”


Wonder if he is a descendant of Henry.


The mention of Pi also makes us think that it is only 4 years this month (29th March) since the introduction of the Raspberry Pi, the amazing cheap British mini-computer that has transformed many home gadgets. It has also meant the cheap entry level computer the Pi zero which sells for less than £5 and has roughly the processing power of an I Phone 4 is helping to bring computer know how to all through innovative teaching in schools.


Meanwhile, back to pies, this recipe from the BBC for Winter Vegetable Pie is gorgeous.

Just needs a splash of Hendersons to make it perfect.




Thank You to  Lyle Tavernier of NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology for some of the above info.