Today is pi day. Some more information on the great number via MathForum:
Pi is an infinite decimal. Unlike numbers such as 3, 9.876, and 4.5, which have finitely many nonzero numbers to the right of the decimal place, pi has infinitely many numbers to the right of the decimal point. If you write pi down in decimal form, the numbers to the right of the 0 never repeat in a pattern. Some infinite decimals do have patterns - for instance, the infinite decimal .3333333...has all 3's to the right of the decimal point, and in the number .123456789123456789123456789...the sequence 123456789 is repeated. However, although many mathematicians have tried to find it, no repeating pattern for pi has been discovered - in fact, in 1768 Johann Lambert proved that there cannot be any such repeating pattern. As a number that cannot be written as a repeating decimal or a finite decimal (you can never get to the end of it) pi is irrational: it cannot be written as a fraction (the ratio of two integers). Pi shows up in some unexpected places like probability, and the 'famous five' equation connecting the five most important numbers in mathematics, 0, 1, e, pi, and i: e^(i*pi) + 1 = 0.
It is highly likely that I would not know of, nor appreciate the beauty and power of numbers like pi, e, and i had I not embarked on this journey.
The question weighing heavy today is whether or not this journey is worth the cost of attaining the goal. For the third year in a row I have had to miss an annual gathering of old friends who come together to watch the ACC Tournament. There have been other social events that have fallen to the wayside as I made choices between social needs and educational requirements. Is it more important to get the schoolwork done, or to maintain contact with the people who have been my life-long friends?
A wise man once told me that "life is all about choices", and, indeed, I have seen a lifetime of bad choices destroy some friends just as I have also seen a lifetime of smart choices lead to success and happiness. And then there are those of us in the middle who have a lifetime of choices made, both good and bad.
But the point is that there are still choices to be made. There is still time to alter the flow of this life. And that is why my friends will soon be settling in for an afternoon of conviviality, consumption, and cheer while I settle in to study infinite series, write Java code for a dancing turtle, and wrestle with the sexual habits of angiosperms.
Time will tell if I made a good choice.