It’s As Easy As Pi


Most everyone remembers being in grade school and celebrating Pi Day. Whether that be by bringing pie to school and eating it, or other pi related activities. Yet, most people do not know why we celebrate it. 


Pi (π) is the sixteenth letter in the Greek alphabet. It is used to represent one of the most famous and used mathematical constants in the world. The symbol started being used to represent the number 3.14159… in the early eighteenth century, but the first calculation of pi was done by Archimedes of Syracuse somewhere in 200 BC. Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is an irrational number, so it is infinite. 


Pi Day was first celebrated in 1988 at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. A physicist and worker of the museum by the name of Larry Shaw founded the holiday. 


Shaw’s daughter, Sara Shaw, told ABC News “He [Larry] always sort of liked to combine crazy, fun ideas with science and math. It’s a celebration and a coming together of everybody to enjoy something that is based in science but in a fun, educational way.”


For the first few years, the celebration was small. Only the museum workers and some guests celebrated it. Several years later, it had started to gain more attention. Sara realized that March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, adding another tradition to the holiday. In March of 2009, the event had gotten so much support, that the House of Representatives designated March 14 as Pi Day. Thus, the holiday was officially born and adopted by schools and families all around the world. 


Pi Day began as a small celebration in a museum and has expanded to be a world-wide holiday. Do not forget to take this day to remember the hard work done by numerous mathematicians. Many stores offer discounted pies in observance of the holiday. So be sure to snag your pie before the day is over.