Why Pi?

Why Pi?

Beloved worldwide, pi is simply the irrational number = 3.14...

It is used to calculate the circumference of a circle – any circle –
among a multitude of other applications in math,
physics, and engineering.

What is National Pi Day?

In 2009, the United States House of Representatives declared March 14 (3.14) to be National Pi Day. They passed resolution HR 224 to celebrate the importance of math, science, and education in our lives.

Through its promotion of National Pi Day, nationalpiday.org seeks to simply alert the public to the importance of a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education as a vehicle that inspires future innovation in the upcoming generation.

Pi Day is now celebrated throughout the world, even in countries that don't list the month and day in that order.

Circle of Pi Diagram

Pop Culture Fun Facts

Sheldon Cooper, from The Big Bang Theory, recited 1000 digits of pi when he was in kindergarten.

The TV show "The Big Bang Theory" has an episode titled "The Einstein Approximation" and numbered 3.14.

Amy Farrah Fowler's apartment is number 314

The national average for regular gasoline prices on February 14, 2011 was $3.14. (Consumer Reports)

In Carl Sagan's novel Contact, p played a key role in the story. The first 6 digits of pi are Ellie's office safe combination (314159). (Wikipedia)

Spock on Star Trek used pi to bring down an evil computer by commanding it to calculate to the last digit of pi.

MIT emails acceptance letters on Pi Day at 1:59 pm. The MIT Cheer :

" Cosine, secant, tangent, sine, 3.14159! "

Cool number to have for your ...

  • Phone: (3) 1.415.926.5358
    • Once own by SLAC – a scientific research center
  • Address: Savannah, GA zip code is 31415.
    • Maybe someone has 31415-9265
  • Social Security Number: 314-15-9265
    • This would be a p-dentity thief
  • Birthday: Monday 3.14 at 1:59:26
    • Or the granddaddy of them all: 3.14.1592 at 6:53 am (10 digits)
    • Or in 4 years, 3.14.15 at 9:26:53 (10 digits)

During the famed O.J. Simpson trial, there were arguments between defense attorney Robert Blasier and an FBI agent about the actual value of pi, seemingly to reveal flaws in the FBI agent's intellectual acumen. (Blatner)

One slice of a 14" Domino's Extravaganza Feast Pizza with Classic Hand-Tossed Crust has 3.14 grams of Ash.

Education Fun Facts

Pi is the number of times a circle's diameter will fit around its circumference.

Circumference is simply the diameter (distance across its center) times pi (3.14.).

So, C = ?d. If you have the radius (half-way across the center), then use C = 2?r.

Pi is the king of mathematical constants worldwide. Many believe pi to be the most intriguing number in all of mathematics.

On March 14th the official Pi Day celebrations begin at 1:59 (ideally at 26 secs).

Pi is never-ending. It is irrational and a series that is non-repeating. It can never fully be realized.

In 1949, it took ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) 70 hours to calculate 2,037 decimal places of pi.

Now, pi has over 10 trillion known digits, which would take a person roughly 316,887 years to recite without stopping, at one digit per second

It takes 31 digits until a "0" finally appears.

The numbers in the TV series LOST (4,8,15,16,23,42) do not occur in that order in the first 200 million digits of pi. When will they occur? We don't know.

If the circumference of the earth were calculated using pi rounded to only the 9th decimal place, an error of no more than one quarter of an inch in 25,000 miles would result.

History Fun Factss

Over 4,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians calculated the area of a circle using a formula [(8d)/9]2 where 'd' is the diameter of the circle. This formula gives an approximate pi value of 3.1605.

By the year 1701, the first 100 digits of pi had been calculated. Welshman William Jones was the first to use the Greek letter pi (?) in 1706.

In 1949, it took ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) 70 hours to calculate 2,037 decimal places of pi.

In 1988, the San Francisco Exploratorium was the first to hold a Pi Day Celebration. The year 2012 will be the 25th Pi-Annual Event! Now-retired physicist Larry Shaw founded Pi Day.

In 2005, Google offered exactly 14,159,265 shares of stock; this is the first 8 digits of pi minus the 3., or pi after the decimal point. (Google)

At the end of 2005, Chao Lu of China holds the world record for most digits memorized with 67,890; it took him 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite them.

On Pi Day 2010, The Google doodle banner celebrated pi.

Many countries do not get to officially celebrate Pi Day. Their dates are written in their calendars as Day Month Year (ex. March 14, 2011 = 14 March 2011).

They do still celebrate Pi Day, and also Pi Approximation Day (July 22nd).

fpi-Enthusiast @ South by Southwest

This pie is still baking in the oven. Updated post Pi Day.


Free Admission and Pie on Pi Day at the Exploratorium


Cal Academy of Sciences

nationalpiday.org supports this dynamic one day Pi art display with Pi-centric website highlighting the value and importance of science and math in the innovative, tech-focused, geek-celebrated Bay Area. An artistic presentation of sky calligraphy, called Pi in the Sky, the world's largest ephemeral art installation, occurred on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 . At 10,000 feet above the skies of the San Francisco Bay Area, five synchronized skywriting planes drew the first 1000 digits of the infinite sequence of pi (p) – the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The event was a community-building civic art experience, yet it also underscored the importance of math and science in our lives.