Many math lovers and geeks alike celebrate “Pi Day” on March 14. In fact, when using the American style for dates where the month precedes the day, today is 3/14. The most committed among us will even go so far as to keep an eye on their watch or set an alarm to go off at the Pi Minute, celebrated at 1:59 p.m., or even Pi Second at 1:59:26 p.m.
This tradition started in the late 80s and is now celebrated all over the world, particularly in North America, where parties and free pies are available on many campuses.
This year Pi Day is an ever bigger deal, because it’s no longer just a fun celebration of mathematics observed by a few incorrigible geeks. The US Congress approved the H.RES.224, sponsored by Rep. Bart Gordon and 15 cosponsors, titled “Supporting the designation of Pi Day, and for other purposes.”. Thanks to this, March 14, 2009 is now officially National Pi Day. More importantly the resolution includes the following statement:
Whereas Pi can be approximated as 3.14, and thus March 14, 2009, is an appropriate day for `National Pi Day’: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) supports the designation of a `Pi Day’ and its celebration around the world;
(2) recognizes the continuing importance of National Science Foundation’s math and science education programs; and
(3) encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.
Math-Blog applauds the sponsors of this resolution, which passed with 391 Yeas and 10 Nays. For once, both parties supported the initiative, and there is no doubt that the sponsors of this resolution will receive a great deal of thank you notes for acknowledging, albeit just symbolically, the importance of mathematics and science in our society. Sadly, 10 representatives felt the need to oppose this acknowledgment, and for those who are curious (without getting too political here) all 10 of them happen to be Republican.
There is now an official Pi Day website with cool merchandise, and a Facebook group you can join. To help you enjoy this day perhaps consider picking up a good book on the history of this fascinating transcendental number. While categorically rejecting any numerological implication regarding Pi Day, it’s a good occasion to celebrate mathematics and talk about it with those who otherwise usually wouldn’t be interested. And that could be the most important aspect to come out of the formal recognition of Pi Day.