3.14159. Those are the first few numbers of the never-ending value of π, or Pi, the mathematical wonder that has mesmerized the minds of intellectuals for millennia. Pi is the ratio between a circle’s circumference (the distance around the circle’s edge) and it’s diameter (the distance from one edge straight through the center to another). In 1988, physicist Larry Shaw came up with the idea for Pi Day, seeing March 14 (3/14) as a great opportunity to start something special. With the US House of Representatives passing a resolution 2009, Pi Day is an officially recognized national holiday. Are you ready to explore the infinite possibilities of Pi Day?
History of Pi Day
Pi Day is an international holiday, a day of celebration for math buffs to marvel over the nature of Pi, engage in math talk with fellow number nerds, and eat pie. I’m no math wiz, but this sure sounds like a winning equation! But how did this all get started? Well, in 1988, in San Francisco at the Exploratorium, a public learning center focused on world exploration through science and art, the facility’s staff gathered at a retreat in Monterey, California. They were searching for ways to come together following the death of the Exploratorium’s founder, Frank Oppenheimer, who had passed three years previous. It was Larry Shaw, physicist and chief curator of Exploratorium, who saw the link between the date March 14 and the pi digits. And thus, Pi Day was born!
More About π
Pi is the most studied number in mathematics
Pi is a mathematical constant; no matter how big or small the circle, the value will always be Pi, or 3.14159
Pi is an irrational number: a non-repeating number whose value stretches out infinitely. Non-repeating meaning no sequence of numbers (ex. 963) will repeat forever. This sequence will likely pop up many times, but ultimately it will stop doing so.
The number 123456 does not appear in the first million digits of Pi.
Albert Einstein’s birthday (3-14-1879) and Stephen Hawking passing are on Pi Day (3-14-2018).
Rajveer Meena holds the record for most recited decimal places of Pi at 70,000 decimal places. He did so blindfold over 10 hours.
The exact time of celebration of Pi Day is 1:59 pm
Ways to Celebrate Pi Day
If you’re in the San Francisco area, the Exploratorium hosts a Community Pi Day at their facility.
NASA has there own way of celebrating Pi Day. Visit their forum to see other people’s Pi Day stories. You may even end up sharing your own!
Pi Day isn’t about the numbers, per se. The numbers are the star of the show, but in the end, it’s about having fun. Whether you’re a number freak or generally uninterested in math, Pi Day has something for everyone. It’s about having a good time with good people. Like the number Pi itself, make memories that will last forever.