The Mathematics of Body Mod: Say Hi to Pi

pi, circles, mods, and mathematics

So today is officially Pi Day. And no, we’re not talking about celebrating grandma’s awesome dessert-making prowess with some fruity delights. We’re talkin’ pi, as in mathematical pi. Or specifically, 3.141592653589793238462… Well, you get the idea.

Pi is a mathematical constant, a number which (when expressed in decimal form), never ends. It’s a figure commonly employed in mathematical equations involving circles or ellipses, and it represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. But pi also represents an eternal enigma, a number whose existence may never be fully understood.

The collection of numbers that composes pi has been calculated again and again, but no coherent pattern can be found amongst the numerals, even when tabulated to over a million decimal places. It’s also a transcendental number, meaning it cannot be expressed perfectly via fractions or square roots. The countless unsuccessful attempts by mankind to understand or interpret pi have even become the subject of multiple books, and one brilliant mind-altering film called simply Pi. In the movie, brilliant protagonist Max discovers a perfect (and sought after) 216 digit number while running calculates with pi, and ends up literally losing his mind as he struggles to discover its true applications, and with good reason.

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Pi is connected to nearly every technical and scientific discipline known to man, include those that are considered to be of a darker or more metaphysical nature. Pure mathematics and number theory, statistics, quantum mechanics, theoretical physics; all of them have made multiple uses of pi.

To celebrate the lighter, more well-known, and practical application of pi, a great place to start is with a shape both visually simple and intellectually complex: the circle. Many a tattoo, branding, or piercing contains a reference point to the circle, even if it is as simple as the spherical body jewelry ball.