Today is Albert Einstein’s birthday!
It’s also Pi Day!
I wished everyone a Happy Pi Day this morning at 9:26AM but I thought I’d write a little bit about the significance of this day and why it is referred to as Pi Day.
What exactly is π? It’s the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet. Why that particular letter? They chose it because “π” is the first letter of the Greek word περίμετρος (perimeter). As Pi is the ratio of the circumference (perimeter) of a circle to its diameter, it only seems appropriate. Its value equals 3.141592653…and the value never actually ends and is referred to as an infinite value.
Anyway, at 9:26:53 this evening, the date and time will match up to the first ten digits of the delicious number Pi(e). It will be 3/14/15 and 9:26:53. 🙂
We get to experience this awesome coincidence twice today — once in the morning and once in the evening. And, once it passes, it won’t happen again for another 100 years. It’s just one of those cool numerical sequence happenings, kind of like the 12/13/14 phenomenon that happened last year, in December.
So, why do some people use this day as an excuse to eat pie? A physicist, Larry Shaw, began this yummy tradition in 1988 — he would eat pies and march around in circles all day. It became official in 2009 when House Resolution 224 of the first session of the U.S. 111th Congress was passed, designating every March 14 as a day to encourage schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.
This year, it’s extra special because it enables us to add more digits to Pi (it gives us the “15” in the sequence) — instead of the regular 3.14 Pi Day, we get to experience a more awesome 3.141592653 Pi Day.
I can’t recall if they utilized Pi Day as a teaching opportunity when I was in school. If they did, I probably wouldn’t even remember it because I didn’t start liking math until my Senior year of high school.
Happy Pi Day!
And Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!
I utilized this article on Slate for some information contained in this post: Pi Day 2015