Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day

Today is Pi Day, a holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant π (pi). March 14th is 3/14 in month/day date format (the crazy American standard). It is celebrated on this day because pi's first 3 digits are 3.14, the common approximation of pi.

Yes, it is a real holiday. The U.S. House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day in 2009, but it was created in 1989 by Larry Shaw of the San Francisco Exploratorium. In the European day/month format, the fractional approximation of pi is used, 22/7. Pi Approximation Day (or European Pi Appreciation Day) is therefore celebrated on July 22nd. More info on the holiday.

My favorite: Pumpkin Pi!

Pi is mostly enjoyed because it is a homophone of pie, which is delicious. It is not a lie, unlike cake. Pi is used to describe the relationship between a circle's circumference and diameter, as defined by the equation π = C/d. Pi is an irrational number, essentially meaning that the digits after the decimal extend infinitely with no repetition or pattern. The current record stands at 5 trillion digits. More from the Pi article on Wikipedia.

There is also an interesting and growing movement against pi, The Tau Manifesto. They support the establishment of τ (tau), where τ = 2π. Essentially, 2π represents sine functions and shows up in a lot of equations, especially in Calculus. The use of tau would remove the need for the added calculations and such. Ultimately though, it is mostly a matter of aesthetics, and has no real fundamental mathematical change, and thus not a huge following. It's mostly just a novel concept. For now, we should all enjoy pi!

EDIT: looks like Dark Matter one this weeks vote, so I'll have a topic on that tomorrow. I am considering doing another open question post next time. Like I did the first time, where I selected 3 reader submitted questions to answer.


33 comments:

Devon Davidson said...

Now I want a slice of pie...

Kim Anders said...

i love pi!

Glovey said...

happy pi day to you to :D

Buckaroopopcorn said...

We should all have pie on Pi day. A new tradition maybe?

akrater said...

happy pi day :)

thatguy said...

I like pi(e). :D haha.
My girlfriend just made Pi Day shirts over the weekend for her and her friend because their school has pi day celebrations in their math classes.
I'm sadly not in a math class. T_T

KB said...

I don't really see a need for creating a new constant just for 2*pi. Thats like saying we should make a new constant since we multiply Plank's constant with like the speed of light.

Chris said...

Have you seen pi the movie? Its pretty good :O

G said...

the most interesting thing about pi that I know of is the Feynman point where there are 6x9 (999999)... with the probability of a series of six recurring digits occurring being only 0.08%

ScottD said...

another reason for me to celebrate and get drunk!

Chuck said...

When in school I decided to print off pi in numerical form to 32 decimal places, then stuck it to my bedroom wall and memorised it. Dunno why. Can't believe the girls at school didn't think I was cool :(

Astronomy Pirate said...

KB, yeah, I agree, it is kind of unnecessary. Chris, yeah, I have it on DVD.

synoptixs said...

happy pi day!!! XD

Banacek said...

Any excuse to drink!

Bubi said...

Happy Pi day!

ankmanpro said...

Haha math geeks. Happy pi day!

Christophe said...

I loved the 22/7 celebration thing. I had no idea about that.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Well "The Tau Manifesto" sounds to me like a bunch of Pi hating communists. Fun fact: my first son was born at 3:14 AM on 7/20. We are a big math family...

Chris said...

Pi day? This is the first time I hearing it

Pago said...

WOw, didn't even notice it until I read your blog.

Happy Pi Day!

Jack said...

I remember Pi day in grade school was always a day to look forward to. Free pie!

Grafted said...

I had no idea. Happy Pi day!

Biff Tanner said...

Well it must be the best day ever.

Raw said...

It's awesome that the US and Europe both have Pi Day and they have it on different days.
Day/Month format makes a lot more sense, but for whatever reason we just refuse to do that.

Shelby Fox said...

My neighbour brought me pi on pie day. I was freaking pumped!

Tracerz said...

Happy Pi Day! I didn't realize until it was over. =( I didn't know that about the movement against Pi though, neat! =D

Every Day said...

yum, pie! happy pi day..

Alphabeta said...

Pumpkin Pi - I get it! ; ]

mac-and-me said...

ugh to late
well happy late pi day :)

Chuck said...

'It is not a lie, unlike cake.' LOL

Melanie said...

nerds unite!

AnthropoSeptic said...

For some reason, "a growing movement against pi" made me lol. Happy Belated Pi Day, sir.

Erika said...

I like pie. Tastes awesome. =]

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