National Pi Day

π Day

Ok.  The day has come and gone.   If there were any big celebrations of pi, I wasn’t invited.   An approximation of pi is 3.14 so March 14 was selected  to celebrate this mathematical constant.  However,  in other countries,  dates are written dd-mm-yy,  so this doesn’t translate well.  Conceivably, one could celebrate the 314th day of the year,  a remarkably terrible idea since November to December period is already extremely crowded with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, turkey sales, and not to mention Christmas, Hanukkah  and Thanksgiving.   Plus, it opens the floodgates to celebrate every mathematical constant less than 365.

William Jones, a self taught mathematician,  is given credit for inventing pi in 1706 (see link below).   Pi is an irrational number, which does not mean it goes crazy when someone forgets to take out the garbage or feed the cat.  It is irrational because it can not be expressed with a finite number of digits or in a  series of repeated digits.

The idea of eating a pie, with a line drawn across it, representing the diameter of the circle on March 14 seems reasonable.  Also, yesterday there were promotions on pizza, obviously attracting neurotic mathematicians, engineers and scientists and their ilk, but really to  no one else.  There is already a National Pie Day and National Pizza Day.  And as  astute mathematicians have  noted:  π≠pie.  Believe me, they are inflexible on this point, and will not be adding any recipes to math books.  I still think some aberrant philistine could do it,   with a book entitled  “π and Pies: Great mathematical equations and recipes”  just to fill the obvious  void.

National Pie Day was created by Charlie Papazian, an American of Armenian descent (as I am).  It  is celebrated on January 23, which happens to be Charlie’s birthday.  He is trained as nuclear engineer, but for the last 40 years, has promoted home brewing through tapes and books.  He is the founder of the Association of Brewers and the Great American Beer festival.   Home brewing got a big head start from Jimmy Carter who signed into law in 1978, the right of every American to brew his own beer.   Charlie Papazian looks like an immensely happy guy:

He is quoted as saying:  “Buy a man a beer and he wastes an hour.  Teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime.”

I was going to add a truly great recipe for Key Lime pie (aka, KL- π), but I’ll save it for Charlie’s birthday (Jan 23).

I have already said more than enough.

Stay tuned,


Updates Terrible Pi Jokes:

Pie > π because you can eat pie.

See others, equally dumb:



William Jones and his circle, the man that invented Pi

Charlie Papazian (Wikipedia)

Pi Day