Roamin’ numerals: this Pi Day, celebrate how math is powering self-driving cars

While Pi Day may seem like a made-up holiday, March 14 – 3.14 – actually provides us with an opportunity to recognize the important role mathematics plays in just about everything we do or interact with on a daily basis

By John Rich, Chief Operating Officer, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC

While Pi Day may seem like a made-up holiday, March 14 – 3.14 – actually provides us with an opportunity to recognize the important role mathematics plays in just about everything we do or interact with on a daily basis. For me, Pi Day also serves as an opportunity to appreciate the people who helped me understand and get excited about numbers and formulas.

As a kid, we don’t always see the profound impact our parents, teachers and role models are having on the person we ultimately become and the subjects we find most interesting. Hopefully, we have all had one or two people we can point to who positively shaped our lives.

For me, it was my dad. An astrophysicist and director of engineering for the Hubble Space Telescope, I learned to appreciate the importance of mathematics from him. My dad would take me to observatories and explain in incredible detail how telescopes worked, what we were looking at when we saw stars in the sky and how far away other planets were. Without realizing it, these conversations were capturing my imagination and steering me down a career path heavily reliant on math.

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SOURCE: Ford

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