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.

Great news!

> .. without getting too political here ..

You’re right. But it must also be acknowledged that the sponsor and all the cosponsors of the resolution are also Republicans.

Actually Bo, Gordon is a Democrat. But yes, it’s a resolution that both parties very enthusiastically embraced.

Sono l’autore di un E-Book edito a dicembre scorso dalla Macro Edizioni dal titolo “I due Leoni Cibernetici” e sottotitolo “L’alfa e l’omega di una matematica ignota, pi greco e la sezione aurea”.

Riporto l’indirizzo informatico che è questo: http://www.macroedizioni.it/libro.php?id_libro=1474&PHPSESSID=112db27d7afaa901eaae76c25cabcb4d.

Questo E-Book lo presento sul mio sito a questo indirizzo: Il geometra pensiero in rete

Cordiali saluti,

Gaetano Barbella

The U.S. Congress wasted time passing a resolution on THIS???????????

You gotta be kidding me.

Your tax dollars at work.

»[…] ‘Pi Day’ and its celebration around the world«? Excuse me, but USA and a few other developing countries are the only places that use the moronic mm/dd/yyyy date format.

Klaus, being Italian, I’m familiar with how you feel about the mm/dd format. But let’s face it, we don’t have a 14th month. If you want, you can celebrate 22/7 though. 🙂

Antonio, that’s a good idea. 🙂

What an embarassing waste of time, and probably money as well. Besides the fact that pi is a ratio not a specific value, why do we always feel so comfortable assigning a three digit value (or 8 if you consider the date and time, including seconds) to a globally accepted irrational number?

I noticed that they debated the bill for 40 minutes – what did they talk about, I wonder?

Guys, it’s all in good fun. The main point of the resolution wasn’t about the exactness of the day when approximating Pi, the resolution was meant to highlight the importance of math and science and to promote them in classrooms around the country (and world). If you consider this trivial, you should check out some of the other bills discussed. You’ll be in for a real surprise.

I’ve just known that 22/7 is only approximation for pi value. And after browsing on the internet, oh my God, more than 2.5 thousand the exact value of pi has not yet known. I think there are miss thinking for finding it, so we must move to another definition of the pi number.

Rohedi, pi is an irrational number. As such, it has an infinite amount of digits and cannot be expressed as a fraction.

Is any celebration the 2/7 too? 😉 (Or, better, the 27th January?)

I agree that our government taking 40 minutes to debate this issue is a little unbelievable, although, I suppose we all have our things that we are passionate about and who’s to say that our government should only listen to certain people’s views. As far as the importance of math and science in our society, I believe that it is important to continue to encourage this to the world. So I guess we will have a national pi day, knowing that not everyone is going to celebrate it the same way :).

To get away from the mm/dd versus dd/mm problem we could celebrate on 21st December at 1:13am. 21st December is the 355th day of the year and the fraction 355/113 (=3.1415929…) is a pretty good approximation for pi. It would be celebrated on 20th December on leap years.

Happi PI day, Dan Howitt New York.

As a Middle-School math teacher, I often hear my students complaining about how boring math is. So, I’m always looking for new strategies to make my class more interesting and meaningful to them. I happily used National Pi Day to celebrate math, have a math-party and make math more exciting to them. Honestly, I don’t care about the actual date, I’m just glad there is some sort of Holiday that celebrates math. We could make January National Polyhedron Month and I’d celebrate it.

I had no idea there even was a pi day up until I read this blog. That is pretty cool to say the least. I’ll have to mark it in my calendar. 🙂 I have always been a true fan of math and especially geometry so pi day is important. Thanks for sharing.