Happy Pi Day!
The greeting card industry has been accused of overcommercializing events—and of even making up a few holidays. However, mathematicians have also been known to indulge in commercializing their favorite holiday. Have you bought your “Happy Pi Day” cards yet?
In an effort to call attention to the importance of improving mathematics and science education, Congress made National Pi Day an official US holiday in 2009, and Pi Day is celebrated worldwide on March 14 (3.14).
Here’s a refresher definition from the official Pi Day website:
Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same. The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.
As the only holiday to honor a number, the American Mathematical Society encourages the celebration of Pi Day. According to the organization’s website, “As the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, pi is irrational and transcendental—qualities sure to bring a twinkle to any mathematician's eyes.”
If you’re interested, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers Pi Day: Activities and Resources, and Mental Floss even offers up ten pies you could try making for Pi Day.
Since Albert Einstein’s birthday is also on March 14, and he lived in Princeton, New Jersey, for many years, the city of Princeton, New Jersey, celebrates “the amazing coincidence” of Pi Day and Einstein’s birthday “like no other city on earth!” with three days of activities—including, naturally, pie eating contests and pie throws.
So, will you celebrate by stocking up on Pi t-shirts and tote bags—or perhaps a mug or magnet for your car or locker? Did you know there’s a Pi Clock that tells time in radians? What about a Baby Pi onesie—oops, sorry, it’s a "3.14sie"—for the baby in your life?
Or, will you be a traditionalist and stick to eating pie on Pi Day?