What is the meaning of Pi Day

March 14th is Pi Day

The iconic circle number Pi has its own holiday, Pi-Day. Fans around the world celebrate him with pi competitions, poems and even pi music.


It is perhaps the best-known and at the same time the most mysterious number: the circle number Pi. This natural constant is omnipresent, we encounter it in every round or curved object. Nevertheless, it is still mysterious and mathematically a real eccentric. So it's no wonder that this number now has cult status. There are now not only pi competitions, but also pi clubs, pi poems and pi music. And every year on March 14th, enthusiasts all over the world celebrate “Pi Day”.

Column of numbers without rules

3.1415… - that's how far most of us can recite the decimal places of pi. But then it usually stops. Unfortunately, we would be absolutely underqualified for membership in one of the numerous Pi clubs worldwide. Because here at least 100 positions are required from the head, with some even 1,000 positions. Her motto: "Promote, celebrate and spread Pi". “A lot of people ask me why I am so crazy to memorize Pi in my spare time,” Benjamin Yang explains in the forum of a website for Pi enthusiasts. “I just find it fascinating that with all our advanced mathematics we can't even determine something as simple as the exact ratio of the circumference to its diameter.” When asked why he was so enthusiastic about Pi, another replied: “Simply because they exist. "

But how do you remember this amount of completely random numbers? Most memory artists use special memorizing techniques for this. So they map the numbers in the mind as a route with stopping points, or associate a picture, word or story with each number.

A special day for Pi

Pi activities peak on March 14th exactly one minute before 2 a.m. Why? Numbers are also at work here: In American notation, the date and time correspond to the sequence 3/14 1:59. Physicist Larry Shaw initiated Pi-Day in 1987 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the world's first interactive museum. His fascination with all kinds of rotational movements gave rise to the idea of ​​celebrating Pi Day with special activities such as circling a plaque with the first hundred digits of Pi and reading activities.

In the meantime, the idea has become so established that Pi fans and institutions all over the world are participating. There are pi memorization competitions, works of art with a pi motif, reading activities in unusual locations and of course lectures on the mathematical peculiarities of the circle number. Even in the virtual world of Second Life there is a Pi-Day celebration.

You can read more about the wonderful and strange properties of the circle number Pi in the scinexx dossier:
The wonderful world of Pi - mysterious peculiarities of an omnipresent number