The Most Delicious Mathematical Constant: Pi

Pi day has arrived once again. No, this isn’t the sweet dessert or cheesy pizza pie that foodies tend to imagine – this is a celebration of the mathematical constant 3.14. Many of you probably remember celebrating Pi Day throughout high school by bringing in actual pies to class (yum) or by calculating pi through measurements in math (yawn). However you celebrated this holiday in the past, it is especially important to try to make this Pi Day the best one yet because the date will be 3/14/15, the first 5 digits of pi (usually we only get to celebrate the first 3). You could even go as far as to celebrate at exactly 9:26 a.m. or p.m. to honor the next three numbers of pi. To make this mathematical holiday a memorable one, here are some ideas and fun facts to spice up your celebration:

  • Make a pie! Apple pie is America’s favorite. You even can make your own miniature version in your dorm: foodieoncampus.com/celebrate-apple-month
  • Pie your teachers or classmates for charity. Students and faculty can pay to smash a pie into a volunteer’s face.
  • Read the story of “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi” – a story of the value of pi. “The Joy of Pi” is another good read.
  • Listen to creative songs about Pi. “Lose Yourself (In The Digits)” is a great spin-off of Eminem’s original version.
  • Watch the movie “Pi” or “The Life of Pi.”
  • Have a contest to see who can correctly memorize the most digits of pi. Winner gets a pie!
  • Have a Pi Day run, either 3.14 km or 3.14 miles, which is a great way to stay healthy and celebrate.
  • Have an Einstein look-alike contest. Pi day is his birthday, after all.
  • Tell some Pi jokes: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o’-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin π!
  • The wealthy English were known for their “Surprise Pies” in which live creatures would pop out when the pie was cut open.
  • At one time it was against the law to serve ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas.
  • Pie was not always America’s favorite dessert – in the 19th century, fruit pies were a common breakfast food eaten before the start of a long day.
  • The first pies were filled with meat and called “coffins,” which means basket or box.
  • Your favorite pie can predict your personality. If you love apple pie, you are likely to describe
    yourself as independent, realistic and compassionate. Pecan pie lovers see themselves as thoughtful and analytical. Chocolate pie fans are seen as loving. Pumpkin pie enthusiasts tend to see themselves as funny and independent.

Many colleges go all out on Pi Day. MIT even goes so far as to send their acceptance letters on March 14 at 3:14 PM (9:36 AM on this special Pi Day). What does your school do to celebrate this delicious day?

Danielle DiCristofano is a sophomore at the University of Dayton majoring in dietetics.  She plans to become a registered dietitian and work for a health magazine.

Photo Credit: Nicole Hayashi, special thanks to Baker’s Bounty of Linden, NJ

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