Pi features multiple references to mathematics and mathematical theories. For instance, Max finds the golden spiral occurring everywhere, including the stock market. Max's belief that diverse systems embodying highly nonlinear dynamics share a unifying pattern bears much similarity to results in chaos theory, which provides machinery for describing certain phenomena of nonlinear systems, which might be thought of as patterns.
The game of Go
In the film, Max periodically plays Go with his mentor, Sol. This game has historically stimulated the study of mathematics and features a simple set of rules that results in a complex game strategy. The two characters each use the game as a model for their view of the universe; Sol says that the game is a microcosm of an extremely complex and chaotic world, while Max asserts that patterns can be found in the complexity of its variations.[nb 3]
Both Gullette and Margolis spent many hours learning the game at the Brooklyn Go Club, and had the help of a Go consultant, Don Weiner (misspelled as Dan), for the film.
When Lenny begins talking about his work with Max early in the film, he asks if Max is familiar with kabbalah. The numerological interpretation of the Torah and the 216-letter name of God, known as the Shem HaMeforash, are important concepts in traditional Jewish mysticism.
Another religious reference is when Max is in the market looking for today's newspaper, there is a recitation from Quran, the holy book of Islam, in the background, the verse (Quran 2:140) goes like this: "Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants were Jews or Christians? Say, "Are you more knowing or is Allah?" And who is more unjust than one who conceals a testimony he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do."