The math nerd’s perfect holiday begins on 3/14 at precisely 1:59 p.m. to match the infinite number (3.14159…). Celebration food? Pie, of course!
Toronto’s mathematicians can have their pi and eat some pie, too.source
At least they can on Thursday. Pi Day will get going at 1:59 p.m., when the date and time will match the infinite constant, which begins 3.14159. Professors, geeks and other pi aficionados will hand out pie to honour its namesake, the oft-used ratio of a circle’s circumference to diameter.
“Not everyone knows how popular pi is,” said math professor Pawel Pralat, who introduced a pi party to Ryerson University last year. “You see it every day without realizing it, every time people see circles.”
To celebrate and reach out to non-mathematicians, Ryerson will give out dessert, followed by a lecture that Pralat promises will “stick to fun facts.”
The Guinness World Record for memorizing pi, for example, went to a Chinese chemistry student who recited 67,890 digits correctly.
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Francesca Anderson, from Wanda's Pie in the Sky, shows off the shop's pi-styled pies for Pi Day - Thursday, March 14. zoom
Memorizing the never-ending number can be tricky, but Pralat will give mnemonic poetry tips, to help with the first 40 or so digits.
“It’s a geeky holiday,” said Marc Pelland, a programmer and member of Creative Technologists of Toronto.
The group has created a mind-controlled virtual pie fight game, called Pi Fighter 2, which uses blinking, movement and brainwave sensors to control the characters.
“It’s a unique thing to celebrate. It’s usually people . . . it’s kind of fun to celebrate something a little bit different,” Pelland said.
He remembers high school lessons about finding circumferences but only after getting into programming and development did he realize how often he’d have to use pi. “Let’s just say you have to make something move in circular motion, like a game or a website, (pi) definitely comes into it,” Pelland said.
His virtual pie showdown starts at 9 p.m. at the Handlebar in Kensington Market. They’ll also catapult real-life pie into contestants’ faces, have pi trivia and serve dessert from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.
Wanda’s manager Emily Stephens said it’s not just “math nerds” who observe the day, which seems to get more popular each year.
All types of people use the day as excuse to have a slice, or two, she said, adding the pies include square ones to reference (pi)r².
At the University of Toronto’s March Break math camp, coordinator Pamela Brittain said they’ll also be handing out apple pie slices and learning more about the constant.
“When I asked them what Thursday was, they all knew it was Pi Day,” she said. “There’s a lot of fascination . . . it’s kind of this great unknown in math.”