As the world of mathematics will celebrate Pi day on March 14, Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has also joined the party with the fifth annual 'Pi in the Sky' illustrated math challenge. The challenge offers pi-related problems and puzzles which people can do from their homes.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's education office has created the 'Pi in the sky' math challenge. The challenge will mainly feature math problems that can illustrate some of the curious features of the universe including earthquakes in Mars, planets orbiting other stars and helium rains in Jupiter using Pi.
"All of the problems in the 'Pi in the Sky' challenge are real problems that JPL scientists and engineers solve using pi. The Pi in the Sky problems give people a little glimpse into what goes on at JPL. And that's empowering because it shows people that they can understand some of the magic that goes into space exploration," said Ota Lutz, a senior education specialist at JPL.
Universally, the value of Pi is considered 3.14, and that is why Pi day is observed on March 14 (3rd month of a year, and 14th day of the 3rd month or 3/14). Even though the value of Pi is considered 3.14 generally, there is actually an infinite number of digits in Pi, and mathematicians with the help of computer programs have calculated trillions of those digits so far.
During academics, Pi is mainly used to derive characteristics of a sphere which such as circumference or surface area. In the same way, scientists at NASA use Pi to learn more about spherical bodies like moons, other planets and distant stars.
Even though NASA's 'Pi in the Sky' challenge is mainly geared towards students from grade 5 to 12, interested adults can also try to solve the problem. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, through a recent statement also asked the general public to share their photos and stories from the Pi Day celebration activities on JPL's education website.