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Celebrating Pi day


March 14 is Pi Day. How did this day get selected? Well, it is rather simple…if you know your math!

Did you know that March 14 is a red-letter-day? It is Pi Day! Pi here does not mean Apple Pies, Blueberry Pies, Cream Pies, or any other sort of pie. Pi Day celebrates the Mathematical Constant Pi.

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 since the day is denoted as 3/14 in the month-day format. Most of you know that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter is a constant in any circle and can be approximated to 3.14 and hence the celebration. March 14 also happens to be the birthday of Albert Einstein so this event too is celebrated along with Pi day. Needless to say 3.14 is only an approximation of ð.

The Greek Mathematician Archimedes first approximated Pi as roughly 3.14. However, the fraction 22/7 has been found to be a closer approximation of Pi than 3.14. Thus many scientists choose to celebrate Pi Day on July 22.

Once one gets started on the celebrations, why stop at a day? The Pi minute is also celebrated and occurs twice on each Pi Day. This stems from a more accurate value of Pi being determined to be 3.1415926... Thus on March 14 at 1:59:26 a.m. and 1:59:26 p.m. we have the Pi Day's minutes and seconds occurring.

Since Pi and Pie are homophones, words spelled differently but sounding the same, much of Pi Day celebration involves pies. What fun!

Historically, the first Pi Day was held at a San Francisco Science Museum in 1988. The staff and public moved around circles eating pies. One wonders if they were measuring the circumference and diameters of these circles and calculating ð!

In this cyber age what is a special day without its website? Well Pi Day is no exception — is the official web site for March 14. While March 14 celebrates the approximation to two decimal places, Pi has been calculated to over a trillion places using powerful computers.

Since most of us are happy with referring to Pi as 3.14 the “day” is indeed an appropriate one to celebrate this simple yet highly technical constant.

The fact that Pi and Pie are pronounced similarly, leads to numerous jokes. For example one common school joke is:

“What is the area of a circle?”

“Pi (Pi are Square)”

“Really? I thought Pies are round?!!!”

OK, so that wasn't too funny. On a more serious side, Massachusetts Institute of Technology sends out its decision letters on March 14.

Wouldn't it be cool to be accepted to M.I.T on Pi Day??!!

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 6:57:45 AM |

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