Pi Day, celebrated on March 14, or 3.14, celebrates the Greek letter Pi. Pi is the symbol for the ratio of circumference of a circle to the diameter of the circle. Those who enjoy math and science usually celebrate Pi day with a little humor and lot of pie.
This special day always makes me smile and think of my friend Jason. Jason was the product of a long family line of physicists and carpenters and he loved Pi Day. He was brilliant in many, many ways and had a smile that you could never forget.
Math and physics enthusiasts, such as my friend Jason, tend to celebrate Pi day in various ways. Some celebrate by wearing a t-shirt with a large Pi symbol on the front. Jason used to celebrate by purchasing large quantities of various flavored pies and going all over town bringing pies to all his friends.
On a side note, Pi Day, or March 14th, is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. I like to think that Einstein would have celebrated Pi day. I think he would have appreciated the intent, as well as the opportunity to have an extra pie or two.
The Pi symbol was first introduced in 1706 by William Jones. The symbol did not reach its popularity, however, until 1737 when it was adopted by Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician.
In 2010, Google celebrated Pi Day by posting a doodle representing Pi on the main page of its search engine. Google is known for its mathematical stunts and this one for Pi Day was a delight. Other companies, such as Discovery World, celebrate Pi Day by giving prizes to the person who can correctly recite the most digits of the number Pi. Another company, Whole Foods Market, has been known to give away a free slice of pie at several of its locations to anyone who knew it was Pi Day.
Pi is what is known as an irrational number – meaning that it continues infinitely without ever repeating. Since Jason committed suicide back in 2006, I like to think of him as Pi, too. Irrational at times, but always infinite. His presence is found each and every Pi Day among all our friends. We no longer celebrate by giving each other pies, but we typically think of Jason on this date and enjoy remembering how he lit up our lives.
No matter how you celebrate – with free pie, stickers, t-shirts, or even a nice geek Pi tattoo – Pi day is one of the only geek holidays that mathematicians and physicists enjoy to no end. We’re keeping the tradition going, Jason. Don’t worry, we won’t forget.