23 Aug 2014
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Here are 3.14 Things to Know About Pi Day...Plus a Little More

Finally! A day to celebrate a mathematical constant!

Here are 3.14 Things to Know About Pi Day...Plus a Little More

You Need To Know Pi Day: March 14—or 3.14 to some math lovers—is Pi Day, a day to celebrate the number found by dividing a circle's circumference by its diameter (a circle drawn around a 1-inch line marking the diameter will have a circumference of 3.14 inches). The ratio has been know since the days of Archimedes, but wasn't referenced by the Greek letter until Welsh mathematician William Jones used it in a 1706 book on mathematics. Technically, pi is an irrational number that never really ends—computers have been used to calculate it to great lengths, the first 67,890 digits of which Lu Chao, of China, can recite.

You Need To Know It's Also Albert Einstein's Birthday: Coincidence? Perhaps, but the man who became synonymous with genius (and to some, Princeton) was born 133 years ago today. The Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist was amazingly prolific in later years, but had some rocky starts early on in life—he was expelled from the Luitpold Gymnasium, protesting the teachers stifled creativity with rote learning...he even failed to qualify for admission to the prestigious Swiss Federal Polytechnic, and had to settle for his second choice school.

You Need To Know Which Came First, Pi or Pie: Is it a "pie" because it's round and you can calculate its circumference using pi? We can't prove any connection between delicious baked goods and elegant mathematical formulas, but there are celebrations of Pi Day involving pizza- and pie-eating contests. What a fitting way to celebrate the day—order your pizza with olives, pepperoni and tomatoes and enjoy the many ways pi can be enjoyed.

You Need To Know Cakes Are Square: Pi is also the source of many jokes—here's one to share with the kids: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter? Answer: Pumpkin pi...

You Need To Know Pi All Around: You can get people to go glassy-eyed pretty quickly by throwing in too many mathematical constants, but for some reason, we all love pi. Whenever popular entertainment needs a handy-yet-mysterious touch of math, pi solves the equation. You'll find pi in Carl Sagan's novel "Contact," as well as in episodes of Star Trek and Stargate SG-1—even The Simpsons. Singer Kate Bush even has a song dedicated to the digits of pi...

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