Pi Day, the math holiday that is celebrated every March 14, is one of the newest holidays on the school year calendar, although pi as a mathematical figure has been around since the BC years, according to Hollywood Life. Pi Day got its start thanks to Larry Shaw, a man who worked in the electronics group at the Exploratorium in San Francisco in 1988.
This year, Pi Day is particularly unique, as the first few digits of pi round to 3.1416. As a result, there are several people who have dubbed today “Rounded Pi Day,” with several memes suggesting that celebrations should include a rounded pie of some shape or creation.
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) March 14, 2016
Some have channelled their inner muse and written poetry.
Here is a short poem to celebrate #PiDay
It is called “π in the sky”. pic.twitter.com/Ery5Gi0dRE
— Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston) March 14, 2016
The Guardian has even posted a mathematical problem in honor of Pi Day, dubbing it “the problem that will spin you in circles.” The Verge reports that Microsoft is discounting Dell’s XPS 13 by 31.4 percent in honor of the occasion. While the discount only applies to the Core i5 model, it is still a significant discount on the system, and one of the few discounts of that nature you might see on computer systems.
According to the Mirror, the New Yorker features an article by Steven Strogatz, a mathematician, which discusses why pi and Pi Day continues to fascinate. For starters, it’s a constant that has been calculated to over a trillion digits beyond the decimal point. As Strogatz puts it, the constant of pi puts infinity within reach to all laymen.
“Pi appears in both the statement of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the Schrödinger wave equation, which capture the fundamental behavior of atoms and subatomic particles,” Strogatz said. “In short, pi is woven into our descriptions of the innermost workings of the universe.”
Pi Day this year also marks the 137th birthday of Albert Einstein, one of the best known minds of physics. In addition, author David Blatner, in writing the book The Joy of Pi, said, “Pi Day gives us a great excuse to throw away our fear of math and say ‘Hey, it IS kind of neat!’ ”
People also tend to use Pi Day as a valid excuse to enjoy more than their fair share of dessert, as well. A Google search of “Pi Day recipes” garners some 466,000 hits, and on BuzzFeed, people looking to celebrate Pi Day can explore 24 different ways of enjoying the event. While costumes are optional, some suggestions include starting up a pie swap, making pie fries (fries out of pie crust) and making microwaveable pies, all of which have been done by math classes and non-mathematicians everywhere.
Pi Day has also been used by math classes as a way to re-ignite an interest in math in general. While this year in Canada Pi Day falls during the March break, there are still math classes that engage in a range of activities to celebrate the event. For instance, Education World says that some schools choose to plan their Pi Day celebrations so that they occur right at 1:59 p.m. on March 14.
— Great Falls School (@GreatFallsElem) March 14, 2016
“Pi Day activities are meant to enrich and deepen students’ understanding of the concept of pi,” the site reports, referencing Dr. Math.
Besides including pizza and other kinds of pie in the event, Pi Day celebrations might include other uses of pi in the world, a Pi Day webquest, and even making a pi necklace. What better way to prove your enjoyment of Pi Day — beyond a smear of your favorite pie on your lip — than fashionable accessories?
[Photo by CLS Design/Shutterstock]