Celebrate Pi Day

Sunday March 14th is Pi Day, as well as Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Animation of the act of unrolling a circle's circumference, illustrating the ratio π. Author: John Reid (GNU)

Animation of the act of unrolling a circle's circumference, illustrating the ratio π. Author: John Reid (GNU)

Self-confessed geek Elizabeth Landau reports for CNN on how nerds everywhere plan to celebrate:

The sound of meditation for some people is full of deep breaths or gentle humming. For Marc Umile, it’s “3.14159265358979…”

Whether in the shower, driving to work, or walking down the street, he’ll mentally rattle off digits of pi to pass the time. Holding 10th place in the world for pi memorization — he typed out 15,314 digits from memory in 2007 — Umile meditates through one of the most beloved and mysterious numbers in all of mathematics.

Pi, the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle, has captivated imaginations for thousands of years — perhaps even since the first person tried to draw a perfect circle on the ground or wondered how to construct something round like a wheel. Approximately 3.14, the number has its own holiday on March 14 — 3-14, get it? — which also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday.

You won’t get off school for Pi Day, but you might be doing something special in school on Friday (the last weekday before Pi Day). Mathematicians, teachers, museum directors, math students of all ages and other aficionados celebrate the number with pi recitations, pie-baking, pie-eating contests and math-related activities.

The holiday has gained popularity worldwide every year during the last decade as enthusiasm has spread on the Web, said David Blatner, author of “The Joy of Pi.”

One of the oldest, if not the first, established Pi Day celebrations is at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, which boasts 22 years of pi mayhem. The day is even recognized by the U.S. government: Last March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution supporting Pi Day and encouraging schools to teach children about the number.

It doesn’t take a math whiz to appreciate pi…

[continues at CNN]

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  • Anonymous

    (I’m ready to start playing the Hard ‘n Phirm song on repeat tomorrow.)

  • nemoide

    (I'm ready to start playing the Hard 'n Phirm song on repeat tomorrow.)

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