Jul 28, 2014
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A Taste of Pi

Children are invited to the library to celebrate both mathematical Pi and edible pie on March 14.

A Taste of Pi

Basketball fans believe that March Madness is for athletes. The truth? It’s actually for mathletes.

This month, math whizzes around the world will observe Pi Day. Pi is a symbol used while calculating a circle’s dimensions in geometry. For many, the mere mention of “geometry” drains all desire to celebrate. Yet others have demonstrated their love of Pi every year since San Francisco physicist Larry Shaw founded the holiday in 1988.

Their enthusiasm may be sparked by Pi’s mysterious nature.

Pi is obtained by dividing a circle’s circumference (the distance around a circle) by its diameter (the distance across a circle). No matter the size of the circle, the answer will always be the same: Pi.

Pi starts with 3.14, which is why math fans celebrate on March 14. But here’s the mystery: a complete definition for Pi does not exist.

Pi is an infinite number. No one has discovered an end to Pi, although mathematicians and scientists have used computers to calculate it to trillions of digits, according to an article from CBS News. No one can figure out a pattern to the endless stream of numbers. Yet some suspect that gaining a better understanding of Pi could have far-reaching significance.

In an interview with Time magazine, The Joy of Pi author David Blatner explained, “Everything is based on circles in the universe, so if we could understand those circles and Pi better, we could understand the universe better.”

Whether or not Pi can truly offer monumental revelations, this number inspires a lot of thinking. Mathletes compete to memorize and recite Pi’s digits. In October 2006, Akira Haraguchi of Japan memorized a record 100,000 digits of Pi, which took over 16 hours to recite, according to an article from Fox News. 

Often, the mathematically-challenged cannot understand this all-consuming obsession with Pi. A day devoted to math may make their stomachs turn. However, Pi relates to a topic that even they may find appetizing: fantastically circular edible pie.

Conveniently, Pi can be used to calculate the dimensions of pie. (Never mind figuring out the universe; that sentence alone boggles the mind.) That makes determining what to eat on March 14 easy as, well, pie. No Pi Day celebration is complete without the tasty treat.

This holiday provides an exciting opportunity for local children who are just as hungry for math as they are for dessert. On March 14 at 4:30 p.m., children in third through sixth grade are invited to use pie to ponder Pi and then enjoy a slice during Pi Day at the . Chaves Bakery in Seymour will donate pie for this special event that is sure to induce March Math-ness. (Those with allergies should be aware that the pie may contain nuts.)

Registration is required; interested fans of Pi(e) should visit or call the library at 203-888-6944. 

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