# Celebrating Pi Day: A Look into its Origins and Significance

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## History of Pi Day

Pi Day is a unique celebration often overlooked by those unfamiliar with Greek or mathematical terms. However, for enthusiasts in the science field, March 14 (3/14) is a day of special recognition as it reflects the first three digits of the mathematical constant Pi. To be exact, it would occur at approximately 15:92, or around 4:32 PM and 65.35 seconds, which brings us slightly past 4:33 PM. You get the idea.

### Origin of Pi Day

The inception of this mathematical celebration dates back to 1988, when physicist Larry Shaw organized the first Pi Day event at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. In a noteworthy gesture, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution in 2009, officially designating March 14 as Pi Day. Yes, your taxpayer dollars at work!

### Pi-themed Treats

As Pi Day gains popularity, many food vendors are getting creative with circular treats.

For instance, my neighborhood features a shop named "3.14 Sweet and Savory Pi Bar," which humorously serves both sweet and savory pies, celebrating Pi Day as though it were their own special occasion.

Additionally, my local pizza place, Il Vicino, offers a promotional price of $3.14 for their standard pie.

Village Inn also joins in the festivities by providing discounts on pies in celebration of this mathematical holiday.

### Influential Figures in Pi Day

Two notable physicists are linked to Pi Day: Albert Einstein, who was born on this day in 1879, and Stephen Hawking, who passed away on March 14, 2018.

### Computational Pi

In the realm of computational mathematics, an engineer at Google famously calculated Pi to an astonishing 31 trillion digits, a feat that took 121 days and utilized 170 terabytes of data storage across 25 virtual machines in Google's cloud system. In the "Star Trek" episode "Wolf In The Fold," Mr. Spock cleverly expels a malevolent entity from the U.S.S. Enterprise's computer by instructing it to compute Pi to its final digit, stating, "As we know, the value of pi is a transcendental figure without resolution." This illustrates that cloud computing may not hold a candle to the complexities of space computation.

### Music Inspired by Pi

The concept of Pi has transcended mathematics and inspired music, with Michael John Blake creating a composition based on the first 31 decimal places of Pi, performed at 157 beats per minute (or half of 314). However, Blake is not the first to explore this idea; composer Lars Erickson previously created his own "Pi Symphony," leading to a current copyright dispute on YouTube regarding the ownership of Pi in musical form.

*What is Pi Day?* - This video explains the significance of Pi Day and its origins, highlighting its cultural impact and celebrations.

*Pi for Kids | What is Pi | Pi Day March 14th | 22/7* - A kid-friendly exploration of Pi, its importance, and how it's celebrated on March 14th.

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

billpetro.com

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