Pi Day: Are We Doing it Wrong?


Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant [Pi]. [It] is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in month/day date format), [because] 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of Pi in the decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day. — Wikipedia

In many schools in the US, Pi Day is a fun opportunity to celebrate math and enjoy all things circular including pies, cakes and cookies. As an example of the enthusiasm Pi Day generates, my 12-year old daughter has recently memorized the first 100 digits of Pi using Learn Pi Free on her iPod Touch. Cool!

However, since Pi Day is a celebration of math, shouldn’t we at least get the math correct?

Pi – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter – is roughly equal to 3.14. So, it makes sense for Pi day to be in March (the 3rd month).

But, is the 14th the right day to celebrate? I think not! For example, what if by some cosmic chance Pi happened to be equal to 3.48? When would we celebrate? On the 48th day of March? Obviously, there is no 48th day of March, and we’d all miss out on our circular treats.

Instead, we should be celebrating on the day of the month that is 14-percent of the way through the month. By my calculations that would be:

(14/100) x 31 = 4.34

Pi Day should be celebrated on March 4!

Now, don’t even get me started on whether we should be celebrating Pi Day
or Half Tau Day.

Clint Laskowski

Hello! My name is Clint Laskowski, and I'm an Information Security Professional who helps clients identify, assess, treat, and monitor risks to information and information systems. I'm also very interested in web development and the Wisconsin startup scene.

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