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What is Pi day?

by Todd Haselton | March 14, 2016March 14, 2016 8:04 am PST

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Happy Pi Day! Wondering why the heck everyone is saying that? Wondering why you keep seeing math jokes and pictures of actual pies crossing your Facebook feed? No worries, friend, we’re here to explain a bit to you.

Pi day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant Pi that falls on March 14. It’s the third month (3) of the year and the 14th day (14), which fill out the first three digits of Pi (3.14…).  Of course, the number Pi keeps on going well past 1 million digits. So why celebrate?

Good question. According to trusty Wikipedia, a man named Larry Shaw began celebrating the number back in 1988 “with staff and public marching around one of [the] circular spaces” of the San Francisco Exploratorium “then consuming fruit pies.” The tradition has continued ever since, particularly in geeky circles. Two years ago was a particularly exciting Pi Day, since it actually included more digits of Pi. On March 14, 2014 at 9:26:53 a.m./p.m. the time matched perfectly with the first several digits of Pi: 3.141592653.

So, really, you can do anything involving Pi or pie today, so long as you celebrate the number.

Wikipedia

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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