It’s As Easy As Pi! Pi Day Explained.
When you think of pie you may think of the tasty round baked good commonly made with fruits or meats. However there is another “Pi” that is quite significant to our world. Pi (π) is the name and symbol representing an irrational number which continues indefinitely, used in such mathematical equations as determining the area or circumference of a circle. This seemingly never-ending-number has been calculated to over one trillion digits (numbers) beyond the decimal point. People also challenge themselves to memorize as many digits as they can.
So what are the connections between the tasty treat and this irrational number? In the English language the words “pie” and “Pi” are homophones. Homophones are words that use the same pronunciation, but usually have different spellings and/or meanings. The words “pie” and “Pi” share the same pronunciation but differ in spelling and meaning. Other homophones include the words like “by” and “buy” or “sell” and “cell”. Plus, the pie we eat is usually made in the shape of circle, a shape very important in the application of Pi in mathematics.
The first three digits of “Pi” are made of 3, 1, and 4 which are also the digits used in the date of March 14th or 3/14. Because of this, people all over the world celebrate March 14th as “Pi Day”. The first Pi Day was celebrated on March 14th 1988 which was organized by a physicist named Larry Shaw at the Exploratiorium in San Francisco, California. During the first Pi Day, Shaw and his fellow participants walked around a large circular room eating different flavors of fruit pies and discussing the number of Pi. Another interesting coincidence is that March 14th is also the birthday of the well-known physicist and philosopher, Albert Einstein. In 2015, ten digits of Pi where represented in the date and time of 3/14/15, 9:26:53am. So on this and future March 14th dates, bake and eat some pies with family and friends.
Photo Source: Pi Day Doodle by Google 2010.