# “Pi” in My Face…(and a Happy “Pi Day” to You, Too!)

Image Credit: Dorkina Myrick, M.D., Ph.D.

I am now in Cambridge attending a medical conference.  My hotel is adjacent to a mini-mall that contains the Kendall Square COOP at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).  (For the uninitiated, the COOP is part of a chain of Harvard-MIT bookstores in the Boston area.)  I obliviously decided to walk into the COOP and browse a bit during the lunch break today.  The store was awash in celebration.  A cheerful young lady was slicing pizzas, plating the slices, and placing them on a table in front of her.  People were milling about, snatching up items emblazoned with the word, number (3.14…..), or the symbol (π) for “pi” –  T-shirts, souvenirs, anything.  My curiosity was killing me, so I decided to walk over and discreetly ask the pizza lady what was going on today.  A gentleman standing next to her looked at me in horror, as if I had committed blasphemy.  I was relieved that she was gentle with me. She handed someone a slice of pizza and explained that today was “Pi Day,” which commemorates 3-14.(1) Yes, “Pi Day” was the first thing that came to my mind when I awakened this morning. (Just kidding.  Seriously, it wasn’t.)

Frankly, the last time I seriously thought about anything that remotely sounded like “pi” was at Thanksgiving when I decided to skip the cherry pie.  Then again, there was the “Life of Pi,” a movie that won a few Oscars a couple of weeks ago.  However, since I haven’t seen it, I didn’t think much about that, either.

Before the π enthusiast launched into a long explanation of the meaning of “pi,” I told her I understood and walked away.  Yes, it has been a long time since high school math and college physics, but I am not completely uninformed.  Pi (π) is a constant mathematical ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  It is approximately equal to 3.14159…… The number never ends. (1-3)

Well, it turns out that “Pi Day” is a huge holiday here at MIT and in many other places.  Would you believe that MIT’s fall 2012 freshman class was admitted on last year’s “Pi Day”?(2)  My God, what was I thinking?!

(By the way, historically, “Pi Day” has not gone unrecognized by the US Congress.  H.Res. 224, “Supporting the Designation of Pi Day, and for Other Purposes,” passed by a vote of  391 to 10 in the 111th Congress.) (4)

References:
1.  “Pi Day: Celebrate Mathematics On March 14th.” Pi Day Website.  www.piday.com.  Retrieved March 14, 2013.
2.   Waxman, Olivia.  “Happy Pi Day!  Here’s {sic} Some of the Wackiest Celebrations around the World.” Time Newsfeed. Time.com. March 14, 2013.  Website.  http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/03/14/happy-pi-day-heres-some-of-the-wackiest-celebrations-around-the-world/.  Retrieved March 14, 2013.
3. Teachπ.org. http://www.teachpi.org/. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
4. H.Res. 224, “Supporting the Designation of Pi Day, and for Other Purposes.”

Categories: Biomedical Science

### 2 replies

1. LOL!!! : ) fun story to read!

• Thanks! I am glad you enjoyed it.

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