It’s π (pi) Day, 2014!


One might wonder when a good sociologist will write that book about how our vexing and depressing times push people to extreme measures, dwelling on one particular manifestation:  The invention of new celebrations on the calendar.

In my lifetime Halloween grew from one short dress-up night with candy for kids, to a major commercially-exploited festival, from an interesting social event to a religiously-fraught night of bacchanalia with a weeks-long buildup.  Cinco de Mayo grew into a festival of all things Mexican, though very few people can explain what the day commemorates, even among our Mexican neighbors.  (No, it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day.)

St. Patrick’s Day grew in stature, and Guinness products now are freely available in almost every state.  Bastille Day gets a celebration even in Oak Cliff, Texas.  I’ve pushed Hubble Day, and Feynman Day; this weekend I’ll encourage people to celebrate James Madison’s birthday — and in January, I encourage the commemoration of Millard Fillmore’s birthday.

It could be a fun book, if not intellectually deep.

It will explain why, on Einstein’s birthday, March 14, we celebrate the number π (pi).

That book has not been written down, yet.  So we’re left simply to celebrate.

Down in Austin, at SXSW, some performance artist used the sky as his canvas on π Day Eve; The Austin American-Statesman captured it:

Caption from the Austin American-Statesman: Austin American-Statesman  Tomorrow is pi day, aka March 14, aka 3.14 - which is why mathematical pi was spelled out in a circle over Austin today (Friday isn't supposed to be as good of a day for skywriting)

Caption from the Austin American-Statesman: Austin American-Statesman Tomorrow is pi day, aka March 14, aka 3.14 – which is why mathematical pi was spelled out in a circle over Austin today (Friday isn’t supposed to be as good of a day for skywriting)

Read more about San Francisco-based artist ISHKY’s project on MyStatesman: http://atxne.ws/1cWLF1e

Photo by Austin Humphreys / Austin American-Statesman — with Joseph Lawrence Cantu.

There’s too much good stuff, on Einstein and on pi, for one post.

Happy pi Day!

Here’s to Albert Einstein, wherever you are!

More:

A photo at Life in a Pecan Guild caught a much more informative photograph of the Austin skywriting:

Each letter, and digits (yes, they printed pi in the Sky!) was formed by five airplanes flying in formation.  Wow. Just wow. Photo at Life in a Pecan Guild.

Each letter, and digit (yes, they printed pi in the Sky!) was formed by five airplanes flying in formation. Wow. Just wow. Photo at Life in a Pecan Guild. (Go there for more photos.)

There will be some great photos of that Austin skywriting, I predict.  Will you point them out to us, in comments?

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3 Responses to It’s π (pi) Day, 2014!

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Black Flag® is a family name?

    Like

  2. Black Flag® says:

    It was my great…grandfather and namesake who was the first to use the Greek symbol to represent the number.

    Like

  3. Thanks for the pingback! :) Great article.

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