A holiday associated with a math concept may not seem that exciting, especially for those not fond of the subject. However, America’s Pi (“π”) Day – observed annually on March 14 (3/14) to honor the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, widely recognized as 3.14 – is an exception. That’s because the celebrations don’t just include fun math activities, but also a slice, or two, of yummy pie!
The tradition of honoring the geometrical constant, whose precise value remains elusive even after being calculated to over thirteen trillion digits beyond its decimal point, began at San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum. On March 14, 1988, at 1:59 PM PST, the museum’s then-technical curator, the late Larry Shaw, convinced colleagues to celebrate the day – which also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday – by parading around one of the museum’s circular spaces and consuming fruit pies. The group had such a good time that museum officials decided to make Pi Day an annual event where visitors are treated to special pi-related activities, including a parade to a special “Pi shrine,” and, of course, some delicious pie. Schools, libraries, and universities, around the country, soon began organizing similar activities and in 2009, US lawmakers made the celebration official by declaring March 14 as Pi Day!