# How to Measure Circles

The *center* of a circle is a point that’s the same distance from any point on the circle itself. This distance is called the *radius* of the circle, or *r* for short. And any line segment from one point on the circle through the center to another point on the circle is called a *diameter*, or *d* for short.

As you can see, the diameter of any circle is made up of one radius plus another radius — that is, two *radii* (pronounced *ray*-dee-eye). This concept gives you the following handy formula:

For example, given a circle with a radius of 5 millimeters, you can figure out the diameter as follows:

Because the circle is an extra-special shape, its perimeter (the length of its “sides”) has an extra-special name: the *circumference* (*C* for short). Early mathematicians went to a lot of trouble figuring out how to measure the circumference of a circle. Here’s the formula they hit upon:

** Note:** Because 2 x

*r*is the same as the diameter, you also can write the formula as

*C*= π x

*d*.

The symbol π is called *pi* (pronounced “pie”). It’s just a number whose approximate value is as follows (the decimal part of pi goes on forever, so you can’t get an exact value for pi):

So given a circle with a radius of 5 mm, you can figure out the approximate circumference:

The formula for the area *(A)* of a circle also uses π:

Here’s how to use this formula to find the approximate area of a circle with a radius of 5 mm: