Saturday, March 14, 2015

Still Life With Robin: Happy Pi Day to You!

Photo by By Mike R Soldwisch via Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

Today is one of my favorite quasi-holidays of the year. It’s Pi Day! What is Pi Day? -- you may ask (if you have never had a child in elementary school). It is the date that matches the value of pi, 3.14  -- and this year it’s even better because the next two digits match the year ’15 -- 3.1415.

What do you do on Pi Day? At precisely 9:26 AM you run outside and recite as many digits of pi as you have been able to memorize. Or sing it, if you know any of the Pi songs that have been circulating around math classes and the internet for years (see or For appropriate holiday attire, wear a pie tin on your head while reciting. Afterward, you go back inside and eat pie – pizza pie and/or a fruit pie, with the crust decorated with the Greek symbol π. If you are a Three Stooges fan (and there is, apparently a great deal of overlap, which you would see if you made a Venn diagram of the set of mathematicians and the set of Three Stooges fans), then you can engage in a Pi Day homage to the Stooges by tossing cream pies at your fellow Pi Day celebrants.

For a quick run-down of what makes this year’s Pi Day the best in a century, has the story: - with the bonus factoid that Pi Day is also Einstein’s birthday

For an in-depth …and fun!... look at the history, humor, and trivia of this holiday, I turn you over to NPR’s Science Friday host, Ira Flatow: To listen to the segment: (and see pi written out to 1,000 digits) go to:

As Pi Day continues to grow in popularity, it becomes a worthwhile promotional gimmick for restaurants, which offer deals on (you guessed it) pie. Here are a few in our local area:

If this list of Pi Day facts and activities whets your appetite for another mathematical holiday, then mark your calendars for Fibonacci Day, just a little more than six months from now, on November 23 (11.23) – see

And now I leave you with a Pi Day joke: What did the dessert chef say when he heard the mathematician say "Pi R Squared"?  "No, pies are round -- brownies are square!"


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

1 comment:

  1. A reader alerted me to this link that lets you enter your birthday and find out where that sequence of digits can be found among the trillions (infinite?) numbers that make up Pi: