By Muriel Bristol | March 14, 2019
Today is Pi Day. It is an unofficial holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant known by the Greek letter π, which is rendered in English as Pi (pronounced “Pie”).
Pi represents the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter. It is an irrational number, which is to say that it cannot be represented as a common fraction. (22/7 is sometimes used as an “approximation,” due to which an alternate or supplementary holiday, Pi Approximation Day, is sometimes celebrated on July 22).
Pi’s decimal equivalent has an infinite number of digits that have no settled pattern. Its first few digits are: 3.14159 … Pi is used in many, many formulas and applications in many fields of study. Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 due its US calendar representation of 3-14.
Mr. Plissken reminds me of an amusing story regarding Pi. It seems that the Indiana state legislature once tried to legally define Pi as being 3. Of course, this was patent nonsense. But the hubris of politicians and regulators knows no bounds. They blithely define penalties as taxes, and vice versa, amid a host of other definitional absurdities. (Milton just encountered something similar in a proposed change to its zoning definitions). The Indiana legislature drew back at the brink, although their attempt at imposing their ignorance on the world as a law has made them an infinitely repeating laughing stock.
Many people celebrate Pi Day by partaking in some of its homophone: Pie. Apple pie, cherry pie, Boston crème pie, whatever you like. You may contemplate the ineffable mysteries of Pi while you enjoy your pie.
Have a very happy Pi Day!
Amazon. (2019, March 14). The Pi Dish – Stoneware Funny Pie Plate. Retrieved from www.amazon.com/Pi-Dish-Stoneware-Funny-Plate/dp/B00D3LANRS
Exploratorium. (2019). Pi (π) Day. Retrieved from www.exploratorium.edu/pi
Pi Day. (2019). Learn About Pi. Retrieved from www.piday.org/
Wikipedia. (2019, February 28). Indiana Pi Bill. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill
Wikipedia. (2019, March 13). Pi Day. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_Day