At the very outset, let’s get one thing straight – ‘Pi’ is not the same as ‘Pie’. Pi is an irrational number; ‘Pie’ is a food item, horribly less important than Pi and much less faithful to a circle as well. Pi –the constant ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle – is always 3.14… and a few more digits. Actually, a lot more digits!
Now, glance at today’s date – 14th March. Write it as the Americans do – month first and then day – and you get 3.14! Ah ha, Pi!
Some people choose to take this one step further. Let’s look at a few more digits of Pi – 3.14159… Some people celebrate 1:59 AM and 1:59 PM on 14th March as “Pi Minutes”. How about continuing the trend? Sure, 3.1415926, occurring at 1:59:26 AM and 1:59:26 PM, are celebrated as “Pi Seconds”.
If you think all of this is extremely loony, you’d be right. However, it’s more than just fun and games. Pi day is also meant to promote math and show that it is a lot of fun. Pi day founder, Larry Shaw, a physicist at the Exploratorium, participates actively in the Pi Day celebrations by hosting a number of activities in the Exploratorium. Here’s this year’s list: http://www.exploratorium.edu/pi/pi_schedule.html
Plus, check out the homepage for pi: http://www.exploratorium.edu/pi/
… And a very happy birthday
In addition to all this fun, let us not forget that the great Albert Einstein was born on 14th March. So, it’s a double whammy and all Pi day celebrations spend some time wishing the Grand Old Man of Physics a Happy Birthday.
Wishing you a very happy Pi day!