Department of Mathematics - College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University

Celebrating Pi Day

Professor Don EstepPi Day was celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter "") is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi's infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

Pi Day is an unofficial holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant pi (). It is celebrated on March 14 in countries that follow the month/day date format because the digits in this date (3/14) correspond with the first three digits of (3.14).

In countries following the day/month date format, the holiday traditionally falls on July 22 and is called Pi Approximation Day. This is because July 22 or 22/7 is the approximate value of (22/7 = 3.14).

Celebrating Pi Day

Professor Don Estep

Math Club members Dean Bisogno and Christie Burris prepare for the annual 2015 Pi Day celebration.

In 1988, Pi Day was founded by Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Public and museum staff marched around a circular space and ate fruit pies.

Professor Don EstepStudents, mathematicians and math enthusiasts all around the world celebrate Pi Day by participating in pi themed activities and contests that include making and eating pies, converting numbers such as the time or one's age using pi, and reciting the digits of pi. Pi on March 14 also coincides with Albert Einstein's birthday.

The CSU Math Club annually celebrates Pi Day, and serves "pie" as a popular social event for students, faculty and staff.

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