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5 things you have to know on Pi day

In the United States, the 14th of March is written as 3/14, the first three numbers of pi. For this reason, the world celebrates “Pi day” on this date.

The first Pi day

The first celebration of Pi day was organised by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The physicist proposed a parade around one of the circular spaces of the museum and the consumption of fruit pies. Today, math geeks around the world continue to celebrate Pi day, by preparing pies and consuming them.

 

Pi cake
Pi cake © 2.bp.blogspot.com

 

What time it is celebrated

To properly celebrate Pi day you should wait until 15:00 of 14 March: 3.1415 is a more accurate approximation of pi.

 

What is pi and who discovered it

It’s an irrational number, that can’t be expressed as a ratio between whole numbers; it’s commonly rounded up to the first two decimal places. It is a constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. And it was discovered by Greek mathematician Archimedes.

 

Archimedes

He was born in Syracuse, a Greek (Doric) city in Sicily, around 287 B.C. Soon, he moved to Alexandria, Egypt, where various intellectuals and scientists came to study and exchange ideas. Finally, he went back to his native city where he was killed in 212 B.C. during the Roman siege of Syracuse; according to the legend, he would have been caught by a Roman soldier while contemplating a calculation and killed because he didn’t obey the soldier’s order to give his name. Besides discovering pi, Archimedes wrote a number of treaties on spheres, cylinders and conoids; he invented the water screw, the pulley, the lever, bruning glass and the catapult.

 

Archimedes
Archimedes in Ortygia © LiveSicilia.it

 

The statue

According to a study conducted by the Municipality of Syracuse on the most important tourist attractions, 80% of Italians know who Archimedes is, but just 20% of them know that he was born in the city of Syracuse. To “compensate” this, on Sunday 13 March 2016 a statue depicting the mathematician was placed at the entrance to the island of Ortygia, where the historic city centre was located. The statue is 2.60 metres high but together with the pedestal it stands 3.20 metres high.

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