Every year on March 14, the scientific community and the world at large celebrate Pi Day in recognition of the mathematical constant with their favorite slice of pie and other quirky Pi-related activities.
The number Pi, or π, symbolizes the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is equal to approximately 3.14159, with a fraction of 22/7.
Pi has been calculated to over 50 trillion digits, and a common activity on Pi Day is for students or adults, in general, to calculate it to the highest decimal point.
PI DAY: HOW IT’S CELEBRATED ACROSS THE NATION
More than 3,000 years ago, Pi was theorized by the Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians to be equal to somewhere in the range of 3.12-3.16.
The first known celebration of Pi Day occurred at the San Francisco Exploratorium on March 14, 1988. It was organized by physicist Larry Shaw, who chose the date because the Pi number aligned with the numerical date of 3.14, and it fell on Albert Einstein's birthday.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, ALBERT EINSTEIN IS BORN IN GERMANY, EXPLODED ONTO WORLD STAGE AT AGE 26
The initial celebration was reportedly marked by a circular parade and the guests eating a variety of fruit pies. The museum continues to host the celebration every year.
However, Pi Day was not formally recognized until two decades later by the United States Congress on March 12, 2009, after the House of Representatives passed legislation to mark March 14 as the official date.
The origins of the Pi number date back to the Ancient Greeks, with mathematician Archimedes calculating the estimated value of Pi.
Over the years, the holiday became popularized in Western culture and celebrated by the scientific community across the U.S. Google famously released a Google Doodle on its search bar commemorating the date.
Individuals who celebrate Pi Day commemorate the date in different ways, including the original celebration hosted by Shaw with pie eating and circular parades.
However, some Pi-themed parties include pie-throwing competitions in which the winner earns a prize at the end.
Other celebrations involve educating students about the mathematical importance of the number in schools and other educational facilities.
The business community also participates in Pi Day celebrations, with some pizza and pie companies offering free items or limited discounts on products during the holiday.
College and high school facilities may host competitions between students to see who can recite pi to the highest number of decimal places without making a mistake.
Pi Day is often celebrated in conjunction with Einstein's birthday, so some party-goers may host Einstein look-alike-themed parties.
Pi Day is largely popular across the scientific global community; however, the United States remains one of the few countries to recognize it on March 14 officially.
Specifically in the U.S., higher education facilities, such as The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton and Stanford, are where the most concentrated groups celebrate the holiday.
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A decade after the U.S. first recognized Pi Day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization labeled Pi Day as a part of the International Day of Mathematics during the 40th General Conference in November 2019.