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March 14th is Pi Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then get ready for some math because it's Pi Day!  Yes, that never ending number gets its own special day.  Let's get right into celebrating Pi Day!


Today is a holiday thanks to Larry Shaw, a physicist, who got the celebration started back in 1989 at the San Fransisco Exploratorium. The staff would all walk around a circular part of the building and then would consume fruit pies, as a play on words. It's celebrated today because it's 3/14 and the first three digits of pi are 3.14.  But the number actually keeps going on forever; it's what they call a mathematical constant. And people use this constant when dealing with mathematical equations that involve circles. Because pi equals the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. But pi also equals the area of a circle divided by the radius of the circle, squared.

So what's that mean? Well, if you want to find the circumference of a circle and all you know is the diameter of the circle then pi will enable you to figure out the missing piece. Because all you have to do is multiply pi times your diameter and you have your circumference. And if you want to know the area of a circle and all you know is the radius then all you have to do is multiply pi times the radius squared and you have your answer.  But don't think that you have to do math to celebrate today; you can have a lot of fun with the number, the symbol or the play on words (pi to pie).


So how can you celebrate today?  Well, Larry Shaw's tradition of baking fruit pies really seems to have caught on for this day, so that's an option. Some people cut the pi (π) symbol into the top of the pie and sometimes they try to add as many digits of pi as they can. But you don't have to get all fancy if you don't want to because a pie is a circle. And you can pretend to try to figure out the area of the pie as you slice along the radius. Just don't eat too much of the pi pie or you'll add to the circumference of your waist ;).  Or you could take turns trying to memorize and recite the digits of pi. Find somewhere online that lists a ton of the digits and see who can memorize the most. The winner gets an extra slice of pie if you made one.

You could even look into how the discovery of pi came about and how it was found to be linked to circles. It might sound boring to some but to others it'll be pretty interesting.  Or you could just go on a hunt for random pi-inspired items. There are a lot of different things out there like shirts, books, movies and so on that all like to focus on this number and symbol.  Regardless of what you decide to do I hope that you have a great day and be thankful for the discovery of pi, otherwise circles would seem a lot more complicated than they really are.

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