It’s all about pi(e)

I’m not a mathematician. I breakout into a sweat and get knots in my stomach at the very thought of balancing an equation. Solving for an unknown is fun if I’m reading a mystery, but becomes terrifying if I have to assign a value to x or y.


I passed algebra in junior and senior high school, but just barely. I have no idea how I got through college level algebra (with an A no less!), but when you’re paying for a class out of your own pocket, something miraculous kicks in.

On the other hand, the husband kind of likes math. He’s uses it in his work and was the one who helped me see the reason for the pesky x and y in equations. Heck, I didn’t even undertand that you didn’t have to use x or y! You can put the smiley face emoticon in the equation instead of an x or y. Wouldn’t that be more interesting? At least it would bring a little creativity to math!

So, if I’m really not that into math, why write about it? Because it’s Pi Day, the annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi)!  I’m always surprised at how many people understand what pi is, but if you’re unfamiliar or have forgotten, here’s a pretty simple explanation from


“Pi is a name given to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. That means, for any circle, you can divide the circumference (the distance around the circle) by the diameter and always get exactly the same number. It doesn’t matter how big or small the circle is, Pi remains the same. Pi is often written using the symbol π and is pronounced “pie”, just like the dessert.”

For me, the last few words of the explanation are all that matter, but to properly understand why we commemorate the day on March 14, one more detail is necessary. Pi is an irrational number, meaning that the digits never end or repeat in any known way. (Irrational numbers! Imaginary numbers! Oh, the joys of math!) The first three digits are 3.14, which is why Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in month/day format),

The earliest known Pi Day celebration was held in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, followed by the eating of pi(e). On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives (presumably because they had nothing better to do)  passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224), recognizing March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day.


My background in Public/Media Relations causes me to wonder why the good folks at the American Pie Council chose Jan. 23 as their National Pie Day rather than March 14. To their credit, they do provide ideas for celebrating Pi Day with pies, but why not take advantage of the built-in promotional value of π (pi)? A missed opportunity in my opinion.

Regardless, I’ll be celebrating Pi Day with my usual running around in circles and eating a delicious piece of pi(e)!

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