Bake something round, take a Pi-mile run or geek out with your friends — this special Pi day won’t come around for another century.
Some things only happen once every century. On Saturday it’s Pi Day, like it is every year on the 14th of March, but this year the start of the weekend will be something special for every geek out there.
At exactly 09:26:53 we will experience to the full (ok 10 digit) expression of Pi: 3.141592653 (and a whole lot more digits). Celebration can occur in the am or pm, but won’t happen again for another hundred years.
What will you do to make the best out of this day? Some people bake Dutch Apple pies (hint: take a look at the shape of an apple) or even get married on that day.
So, what’s so special about Pi Day? The Greek letter pi, in math π, is the ratio of the circumference, the area and volume of everything that has a round shape. It’s an infinite number. Infinite as a circle. Infinite as the circumference of an apple (pie) or a wedding ring.
Let’s get romantic on Pi and take a step back in history. William Jones, an English mathematician — close friends with Isaac Newton — was the first to use the Greek letter in a discussion about a circle with radius one in 1706. He might have chosen this letter, π, because it was the first letter in the Greek spelling of ‘periphery.’
It’s nothing but mere speculation whether he really is the first one who used it and whether the word ‘periphery’ was the real cause. All historians know for certain is that Leonhard Euler (a Swiss mathematician and physicist) started using it thirty years later ‘for the sake of brevity’ when communicating with other mathematicians around Europe.
Ever since the invention of the desk calculator, and later the computer, math nerds everywhere continued adding digits to the endless series. The record has been broken many times.
People even memorized the digits by heart. Akira Haraguchi, a retired Japanese engineer born in 1946 recited in 2006 the Pi number up to 100,000 digits.
Celebrating π is a relatively new practice. The earliest known official celebration was organized in 1988 by Larry Shaw. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives supported the designation of the 14th of March as an annual day of the commemoration of π.
10 Things to Do This Pi Day
Memorize and recite as many Pi digits in a contest with your friends
Draw a giant Pi circle of dominos.
Watch “The life of Pi” and recite as many quotes as possible to annoy your friends who haven’t seen the movie yet.
Bake some serious pumpkin pies.
Do a Pi-mile run to keep fit after eating the whole pie.
Create a musical representation of Pi.
Get really off the hook and discuss the different ways to derive Pi.
Listen carefully to Kate Bush’s Pi.
Were or weren’t her words correct?
Get an awesome, infinite, π tattoo.
Get down on your knee, take that (Pi)ring out of your pocket and pop the question to celebrate what’s infinite to you.
This article was contributed by Kurt De Buck, managing editor of iQ by Intel UK.
Photos by Shutterstock