Happy Pi Day! (Approximately)

To commemorate the world’s most famous mathematical constant, enthusiasts around the world embrace their inner nerdiness by celebrating Pi Day. The rest of us, always looking for a reason to celebrate something, jump on board, and maybe you could say we are “geeks for a day.

March 14, when written as 3/14, represents the first three digits of pi (π), the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Pi is approximately equal to 3.14159 and is represented Greek letter “π”. Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed as a common fraction (equivalently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanently repeating pattern). Although how anyone could ever know this is beyond me. “To infinity and beyond!”

It’s a weird concept. Somewhere in the infinite string of non-repeating decimal numbers is your birth date, social security number, and phone number in that order. Somewhere in that sequence are your numbers followed by your friend’s numbers, followed by another friend’s numbers, shoot, everyone you know, in order. That’s about as close to geek as I can speak.

But I do understand “pie” very well. I’m quick to notice it’s a day where people enjoy making a pun of the date/number and serve literal pie at the office and other places. That part I can get wrap head around.

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed “H.Res.224 – Supporting the designation of Pi Day, and for other purposes.

“Whereas Pi can be approximated as 3.14, and thus March 14, 2009, is an appropriate day for ’National Pi Day’: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

  • supports the designation of a ’Pi Day’ and its celebration around the world;
  • recognizes the continuing importance of National Science Foundation’s math and science education programs; and
  • encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.”

The date—which also happens to be Einstein’s birthday—inspires a variety of fun every year, so enjoy it. A few years ago there was the ultimate Pi Day, 3/14/15, encompassing even more digits in the sequence. We won’t get this much pi again for 100 years … approximately speaking.

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