Once again, as the Earth travels its circuitous path around the Sun, we arrive on that day we call pi day.

Just two weeks ago we had Leap Day, to help correct for the fact that our spheroid’s spins and orbits don’t match up evenly with one another. Which means that, on this particular 3/14, our position along that route of revolution most closely matches up with that of pi day a quadrimular period ago–3/14/2008–or that now past by two quadrimular time-spans–3/14/2004. Pi Day 2004, incidentally, was the time my emails took a dramatic turn (I had sent a pretty bland pi day message to friends and acquaintances in 2003); if you’d like to revisit that missive and recall a few handy mnemonics for remembering pi’s digits, click here.

This year, I’ve tried to make pi day last all week by highlighting and celebrating math, its importance, and beauty, more consciously than I usually do in the day-to-day of my life and math classes. We’ve talked in class about phi and the amazing fact that Fibonacci numbers and patterns can be found in plants. Today, in honor of pi day itself, I did the following:

- Wore a pi day temporary tattoo on my forehead (making me look a bit like my profile picture on my About page, though with the pi’s colors inverted)
- Wore this pi day t-shirt [ a few other cool pi products, including a pizza pi cutter (how awesome is that!?), can be found here]
- Brought in pie for my students – my current students ate some during class, but I also invited them and former students to come back around pi moment (3/14 1:59pm) for another slice
- Listened to this song
- Watched this video
- Had students work on a pi day online scavenger hunt (this one’s been a tradition for several years)

Wearing the t-shirt and tattoo were a good plan, to get not only my students but other random students in the hall talking about pi today! I had students come up and ask me what was that thing on my forehead (a chance to explain/recall the number pi), others who recognized it but asked why pi was on my forehead (a chance to explain the glory that is pi day), and some who upon seeing me said, “Oh, it’s pi day, right!”. It was a conversation starter, even if I looked like a crazy math fanatic!

Hope your pi day was similarly eventful and pi/e-ful too!

I leave you with two awesome things:

A pi apple pie, by blogger a periodic table. I wish I had the talent to do that; this is the most amazing pi pie I’ve ever seen!

A video by mathemusician Vi Hart, celebrating both pi day today and tomorrow’s Ides of March by speaking in Iambic pentameter about the possibility (probability?) of finding the works of Shakespeare encoded within pi’s digits – very cool!

Though but an hour remains here on the east coast (though, after all, why not take the whole week to celebrate?), here’s hoping the rest of your pi day is mathematically delicious!

Nick

Is pi day going mainstream? Some of my students said they saw it on the news this morning. Further evidence: “Happy pi day” is a trending topic on Twitter. This included tweets from companies like Northrop Grumman and KFC; from the Israeli consulate; and from such actual famous people as Katie Couric, Ellen DeGeneres, and President Obama! Hooray!

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