Pi Day – eat pies and enjoy the eternal beauty of maths

Pi - the numberYou’re eating a pie, aren’t you? In celebration of Pi Day, and all.

Indeed, today is Pi Day – 3.14 if you write the date that way. It’s a day to celebrate the mathematical constant that is 3.1415926… I could go on. I mean really go on. Because Pi has no end.

In fact, on Pi Day 2004, a guy named Daniel Tammet recited Pi to 22,514 decimal places. So much for thinking we’d struck upon genius a few years ago at CSIRO when one of our Newcastle scientists managed to get to 241 decimal places before slipping up. She was eating a pie at the time, so we blamed it.

You’ve probably got fond memories of Pi and the efforts you went to trying to remember equations like  πr2 and 2πr for your maths exams. Stupid circles, you uttered. Well, today’s the day to replace those haunted memories with celebration.

According to Wikipedia, there are many ways to celebrate Pi Day: “Some of them include eating pie and discussing the relevance of π.” Sounds like a hoot.

So, in the interest of celebration, let me begin my steak and kidney delight (with a generous squirt of tomato sauce) and tell you what I found out when I tried to ‘discuss the relevance of Pi’ with a few of my colleagues from CSIRO’s Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics gang:

“What would we do without Pi? Probably spend most of our time going in circles, because we wouldn’t know when they finish.”

“I still remember the feeling that came over me when my lecturer proved that Pi equalled Pi. It was quite profound.”

“I don’t celebrate Pi Day on 3.14 – I celebrate Pi day on 22/7. The date’s in the right order for Australia, and it’s also a slightly better mathematical approximation of Pi. On 22/7, I team up with a local Canberra maths guy to give a presentation on the wonders of Pi. We usually do it down at the pub, so we can enjoy pies and pints afterwards.”

“If mathematics is the music with which the symphony of the universe is written, then the eternity of Pi is the measure of its beauty.”

Poetic. A pie to each of them. It’ll certainly be an energy (albeit calorie-laden) boost for the more serious work they’re doing… find out more at http://www.csiro.au/org/CMIS


3 Comments on “Pi Day – eat pies and enjoy the eternal beauty of maths”

  1. teece83 says:

    So much fun. Both the idea, and this piece.

  2. Tania says:

    Ahem. The pi competition result was a win by 257 decimal places to 256. We’re not 241-decimal n00bs here at Newcastle :)


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