I always look forward to March 14th, not because I am a math geek, but mostly because I love a good opportunity to be creative…and I also love a homemade pie! Last year, I shared Pi Day with my coworkers at the Toco Hill branch, and I prepared a strawberry pie with a gluten-free almond crust, adapted from a recipe found in A Year of Pies.
This year’s Pi Day is especially remarkable because of this year’s date, making the first consecutive five digits of the mathematical constant Pi match the date of this holiday–which has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Adding to the excitement for the more precise (or more precisely nerdy) is the addition of the next five digits–or even six if you can bear it–by celebrating at 9:26:54 a.m. I found a wide array of t-shirts, mugs, and other celebratory Pi Day gear available online, advertising the once in a lifetime nature of this year’s event.
Pi Day was first inaugurated by physicist Larry Shaw, and the first recorded celebration was held at the Exploratorium–a science and discovery museum–in San Francisco in 1988, in which participants marched around the rounded space and consumed fruit pies. Pi Day was later recognized by the House of Representatives on March 12, 2009, at which time a resolution for recognition of the event was passed (HRES 224).
The rituals involved in the observance of Pi Day vary by location, but include preparing or eating pies, throwing pies, and discussing the nature of Pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter). Many schools around the country hold contests to see which students are able to remember the largest number of consecutive digits of the commemorated constant.
MIT applicants receive decision letters that have been posted online on Pi Day at 6:28 p.m. to pay tribute to both Pi and Tau. (Pi is half of Tau.) In fact, Tau supporters are looking forward to celebrating Tau Day on June 28, 2031. In Princeton, New Jersey, the Pi Day celebration coincides with Albert Einstein’s birthday. Einstein lived and worked in Princeton for over 20 years, and the town adds Einstein Look-Alike contests to the traditional Pi Day rites.
Here are some books in the DCPL collection that will encourage you to celebrate and share some of the wondrous and uniquely comforting PIes in your life:
- Pies and Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick (a cozy mystery around the thematic of pie-making) (2010)
- Never Say Pie: A Pie Shop Mystery by Carol Culver (2012)
- A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by Ashley English (2012)
- Crazy About Pies: Irresistible Pies for Every Occasion by Krystina Castella (2012)
- Life of Pi (the book) by Yann Martel (Here “Pi” is a nickname, short for Piscine Molitor, a famous swimming pool in Paris.)
- Life of Pi (the movie) (2012)
- The Joy of Mathematics (DVD) Part 2 of 2, which includes the “Joy of Pi.” Lecturer: Arthur T. Benjamin (2007)
- The Joy of Pi by David Blatner (1997)