All About Pi Day

By Jasmine Lowe on March 14, 2013

What’s all this mention of Pi today? Each year math enthusiasts and Pi lovers alike celebrate the day on March 14, or 3/14 in month/day date format, since 3, 1 and 4 are the first three digits in the numerical representation of Pi, and the three most significant digits of ? in the decimal form. If that’s not enough nerdy math love for you, Pi Approximation Day is observed on July 22 (or 22/7 in day/month date format), since the fraction 22?7 is actually a common approximation of ?.

Pi day is such a hit in that in 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day dubbing the day National Pi Day. Pi day was first officially observed widely in a celebration organized by physicist, Larry Shaw, in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, and the The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations today. Staff and the public are usually seen marching around one of its circular spaces, and then consuming fruit pies.

For Pi Day in 2010, a Google Doodle celebrating the holiday revealed images of circles and pi symbols behind the word “Google.” Today Pi lovers attempt to do all things Pi as well as it’s tasty homophone equivalent. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology currently posts  application decision letters to prospective students privately online on Pi Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers Pi and Tau equally.

In Princeton, New Jersey, Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday, which is also March 14, is combined in a celebration with pie eating and recitation contests, and an annual Einstein look-alike contest. The rest of the nation spends their day eating pie, discussing the significance of the number ? and, more recently, watching Life Of Pi.


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