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

photo
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?!

Learn more about “Pi Day” at the “Pi Day” website (1) or at Teach Pi.org. (3)

(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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

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

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