After last year’s ultimate Pi Day when, on 3.14.15 at 9:26:53, the date and time corresponded to the first 10 digits of the mathematical constant pi (3.141592653), I wondered what the annual celebration might look like this year — would it be possible to top an event that happens only once per century? My investigation quickly revealed that the annual celebration of Pi Day has apparently received a significant boost from last year’s revelries and is going stronger than ever.
In case you’re not aware of the background for this global celebration of mathematics, the mathematical constant Pi — which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter — can be used to find the area or circumference of circles. PiDay.org explains that “pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.”
In 2009, the United States House of Representatives declared March 14 (3.14) to be National Pi Day. They passed resolution HR 224 to celebrate the importance of math, science and education in our lives, while sparking interest in learning and reminding the public of the importance of strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as a vehicle to inspire ongoing innovation in the upcoming generation.
Today, Pi Day is celebrated throughout the world, even in countries that don't list the month and day in that order. Traditionally, official Pi Day celebrations begin at 1:59 (ideally at 26 seconds). People celebrate Pi Day around the world with pie-eating, pie-throwing and even pi-recitation contests, where participants recite digits of this irrational number from memory. Here are just a few other ways people are celebrating:
- Sing a Pi Day Song:
- Mathematical Pi Song: A long, long time ago, Long before the Super Bowl and things like lemonade, The Hellenic Republic was full of smarts, and a question resting on the Grecian hearts was: What is the circumference of a circle? But they were set on rational numbers and it ranks amongst their biggest blunders, they worked on it for years and confirmed one of their biggest fears, I can’t be certain if they cried when irrationality was realized, but something deep within them died the day, they discovered pi … They were thinking, pi, pi mathematical, pi … 3.141592 … 6535897 … 93238462 … 64338327 … not rounded.
- “Pi Rap” by Amy McConnel (2:43)
- Pi Day Princeton: March 14 also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday, and the day takes on special significance in his hometown of Princeton, NJ, where festivities will be taking place throughout the weekend and concluding with a Nerd Herd Smart Phone Pub Crawl beginning Monday at 6:30pm
- Pi-Ball: Give a family friendly ball sport a try.
- Visualize Pi: This Kickstarter project launched a year ago when students from The Green School in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, decided to combine mathematics and art to visualize Pi as a mural in their community. 115 backers pledged $5,596 to help bring the project to life, and an official community painting day was held on May 9.
- Bake a Pi Pie:
- Pi Pie Pans are available at the Pi Day Amazon Store for those who have a love of apple, cherry and the irrational, as well. “If you can recite Pi from memory to 20 or more decimal places, you need the Pi Pie Pan to celebrate March 14 in style. Be the envy of the office or classroom on Pi Day with this Pi shaped pan that has the same volume as a typical 9" pie pan.”
- Participate in a PI Day recipe challenge — visit the Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest for inspiration. Looks like it was delicious!
- Wear a Pi Day Shirt: Note the image on the back of this heavyweight cotton t-shirt from Zazzle, where 3.14 backwards spells “pie” (3.14=PI.E).
- Get creative:
- Urban Threads offers two PI day embroidery designs: Pi Equals Delicious, designed to be “equally delicious for math geeks and good cooks,” and Pieces of Pi, a whimsical design made up of the numbers of pi.
- Doodle: Here’s what Google came up with a few years back.
- Watch the Psych Season 4 Finale: On the USA Network show Psych the digits of Pi are painted around the trim of a crazy perpetrator’s bedroom. Shawn & Gus look creeped out.
- At the San Francisco Exploratorium, where the earliest known large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized in 1988, the museum invites you to participate in pi-related activities and enjoy a piece of pie on the afternoon of Monday, March 14, 2016. If you can't join in person, you can still join in the celebration in Second Life.
- Pi Day the NASA Way: JPL has released the third installment of its popular Pi Day challenge, which gives students a chance to put their pi skills to the test to solve some of the same problems NASA scientists and engineers do. The set of four illustrated math problems are compiled into a graphic (as well as classroom handouts) designed for students in grade 4 through high school — but fun for all!
However you may decide to join in this year’s festivities, enjoy a wonderful day. As one eager participant on PiDay.org aptly said, “Tonight we will dream in radians.”
- For further information: http://www.piday.org
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