HAPPY PI DAY!

pie photo with overlay of circumference and radii, and value of pi

The value of pi is one of the constants of the universe. As an irrational number, the decimal form of pi never ends, and no one number ever repeats in the sequence. In fact, with the advent of computers, pi has been calculated out as far as six BILLION digits.

“Simplest Trigonometric Solutions,” 1977, Richard Buckminster Fuller
Screen printed poster, one of ten, 36”x24” Gift of LPR, 2009.035.001

From the poster:
“Only triangles produce structural stability. Only triangles produce pattern stability. The omnitriangulated tetrahedron is the minimum structure of the universe.” – Buckminster Fuller

Dating back to approximately 2000 BCE, before Archimedes, the value of pi is any circle’s circumference divided by its diameter. The resulting value will ALWAYS be pi, or approximately 3.14. The use of the Greek letter pi for this value seems to relate to the word “periphery,” and was first used as shorthand for this value by mathematicians in 1706.

To celebrate Pi Day, we show you this work by Buckminster Fuller from his Synergetics Folio. Known for his graphic representations of mathematical concepts, this poster displays trigonometric solutions in the form of 4 functions (sine, cosine, tangent and cotangent) and how they relate to the respective characteristics of triangles (surface angles and sides), including the use of – you guessed it – pi.

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