Pi Day and Pie!

A day about celebrating an asset of math and eating pie, Pi day is truly something unique.

Pi day is a day where you celebrate the values of Pi on the day of March 14. Why March 14? Well, because the first three digits of Pi are 3.14! Pi is an infinite set of numbers that represents the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. There is no pattern to Pi, and the decimal never repeats the same digit twice in a row. Pi is said as ‘pie,’ which is the reason why pie is eaten on the holiday.

(March 2022). [Pi looking into the mirror] [Digital image]. Time and Date. https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/pi-day

Specifically, Pi is the value of a circle’s circumference divided by its denominator. The provided reasoning is that no matter the values of a circle’s circumference and denominator when you divide them, the answer always comes out the same: Pi!

So, why exactly is Pi infinite? Pi is an irrational number, a number that can’t be expressed by a fraction. But what’s the point? Why do we celebrate Pi day exactly? Well, the day is celebrated mainly by mathematics enthusiasts. It’s just a fun way to take pride in an essential asset of calculation in math!

Pi day is celebrated through a variety of ways. You can do Pi memory contests, bake pies, go on Pi day runs, and, of course, learn about the math behind the number. Pi memory contests are competitions testing who can remember the most digits of Pi. Naturally, the tradition of baking pies emerged due to the number’s name and its use in circles. Lastly, Pi day runs are multisport races to get to 3.14 miles. But, it’s not just traditional activities that define what you can do on Pi day. Pi day can be celebrated by pretty much anything you can come up with that relates to Pi!

Pi day was first founded in 1988 by a physicist named Larry Shaw. March 14 was selected because the numerical date, 3.14, represents the first 3 digits of Pi. It also just happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday! Although it was founded by Shaw, it wasn’t invented by him. Remarkably, the first calculation of Pi was made in Ancient Greece by a man named Archimedes of Syracuse. Early Egyptians used an approximation of pie, 3.16, to calculate the area of a circle, and Archimedes proved that approximate.

The interesting thing about how exactly Archimedes proved the measurement is that he didn’t use any measuring tapes and such for circles. Instead, he made shapes inside the circles, slowly increasing the amount of sides of the shape until it looked almost perfectly like a circle. He came to make a 96 sided polygon, taking the measurements of each side. Impressive!

The highest amount of digits in Pi that has ever been rendered was a whopping 62.8 trillion digits! This feat was made possible by a computer which was left to count digits of Pi for 108 days. But above all else, Pi day is a fun way to learn something new, and maybe even do some baking.