Pi Approximation Day and CAT Preparation
Pi (pronounced like “pie”) is often written using the greek symbol “π”. The definition of π is: The Circumference divided by the Diameter of a Circle.
𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟐𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐏𝐢-𝐃𝐚𝐲, 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝟏𝟒𝐭𝐡 (𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲)
March 14th is Pi Day, July 22nd is Pi approximation day. This right there is an anomaly, as 22/7 is a more accurate approximation of Pi than is 3.14. We mathematicians can live with using the MM/DD date format as that is the only way we have a sniff at having a Pi-Day; but calling the more accurate number as the approximation day is a bit rich.
…..𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟
The Babylonians had a stab at it as early as 2000 BC coming as close as 3.125 or 25/8. Archimedes provided a breakthrough by inscribing and circumscribing polygons about a circle and generating lower and upper bounds. Our own Ramanujan developed some juicy methods that were later incorporated into computer algorithms. Inevitably, machines entered the fray and we have apparently now computed up to 2.17 trillion digits. The beauty about the 2.7 trillion-digit approximation is that from 2000 BC to 2100 AD we have moved by 0.5% – those Babylonians must have been pretty cool then, huh.
𝐂𝐀𝐓 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐈𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐏𝐢
When we are young we are told that Pi equals 22/7, we feel good about ourselves and solve a bunch of problems with it. Then after a while we realize that Pi is not really 22/7 and has many more layers to it; on top of it the damn thing is irrational. Kinda like CAT-based selection process. Like CAT preparation itself, it appears to be endless. But don’t let the shoulders drop, like PI itself CAT preparation is useful in a variety of contexts, is delightfully fascinating and is most definitely not pointless. 😀
No discussion on Pi ends without a reference to the Circle of Life and a call-out to the utterly delightful phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’. Hakuna Matata means ‘No worries for the rest of your Days’. We at 2IIM wish that you jump into this CAT journey, have plenty of fun preparing for it and subscribe to the carefree philosophy Hakuna Matata.
Best wishes for CAT!!
Rajesh Balasubramanian takes the CAT every year and is a 4-time CAT 100 percentiler. He likes few things more than teaching Math and insists to this day that he is a better teacher than exam-taker.