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The obsession with pi isn’t just limited to mathematicians and scientists. Pi has a special place in popular culture, thanks to its prevalence in mathematical formulae and its mysterious nature. Even completely non-cerebral shows, books, and movies can’t help but mention the popular constant. For example, pi gets mentioned in a scene from Twilight, in which vampire-boy Robert Pattinson recites the square root of pi (and on-the-ball Kristin Stewart quickly shuts him down). The Simpsons is also pretty into pi (and math references in general). In one scene, two young girls at a school for the gifted play patty-cake and say “Cross my heart and hope to die, here’s the digits that make pi, 3. 1415926535897932384…” In another scene, a sign at the Springfield graveyard says “Come for the funeral, stay for the π.”

Yep, whether you like it or not, pi is everywhere. Here are a few more places it’s popped up: • The main character in the award-winning novel (and 2012 film) Life of Pi nicknames himself after the constant. • A circular room in the Palais de la Découverte science museum in Paris is called the pi room. The room has 707 digits of pi inscribed on its wall (though there is an error beginning at the 528th digit, thanks to William Shanks’ erroneous calculations). • In an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock commands an evil computer to compute pi to the last digit—which it cannot do, of course, because, as Spock explains, “the value of pi is a transcendental figure without resolution.” • Givenchy’s PI cologne for men is advertised as a scent that "embodies the confidence of genius." • Both MIT and the Georgia Institute of Technology have cheers that include “3.14159.” • Several other movies reference pi, including the 1966 Alfred Hitchcock film Torn Curtain, the 1995 Sandra Bullock thriller The Net, 1998 indie thriller Pi. Finally, pi is perhaps most rampant in pop culture on March 14—Pi Day! On Pi Day, nerds, geeks, and mildly interested geometry students alike come together and wear pi-themed clothing, read pi-themed books, and watch pi-themed movies, all while eating pi-themed pie.

Note by Vishwathiga Jayasankar
2 years, 12 months ago

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