National Pi Day: A True Holiday for Engineers

So I’ve just found out it's National Pi Day here in the States because they write today's date as 3/14 rather than 14/3. I guess that means Pi Day back in Europe should be July 22nd (22/7).  It's a somewhat serendipitous event, as I'm analyzing an assembly which is a mass of screw thread, spheres and cyclic mechanism.  When you stop and think about it, pretty much the whole of engineering is built upon that two-letter constant. 

From the Neolithic man moving the great stones of Stonehenge on a series of log rollers, to the touchdown of the space shuttle Discovery, Pi touches all that mankind has achieved. It’s been around for 4000 years, discovered and refined by all the major civilizations around the world. As a species we're somewhat obsessed with circles to get around, so nothing moves without a slice of Pi

I remember my introduction to Pi. I was 10 years old and my teacher, Mr. Platt, got us to measure the string around the circle.  It took a further five years before the engineering aspects of Pi began to raise their collective heads, as I drew my first cycloid gear tooth with a pencil on a drawing board (yes I am that old).  From that day on, throughout my engineering career, Pi has been a constant–no pun intended. From a wind tunnel velocity-measuring design to the Ultimate CAD Chair, Pi drives engineering design. Pi is everywhere. Even our electrical supply has Pi in the AC supply.

If "hi" is the world’s most popular word, then Pi is a good candidate for the world's most important number.  I just wish it was a nice round number to make the math easier…


Stephen Endersby

Stephen Endersby

Product Manager at SolidWorks
Stephen Endersby

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