Happy Pi Day! 11 Fun Facts, Triva And History About 3.14

Happy Pi Day! Benjamin Haas/Shutterstock

Pi Day falls on Mar. 14 (3/14) each year, where people celebrate the never-ending mathematical constant: Pi (Greek letter “π”). While National Pi Day did not become official until March of 2009, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution, the day was celebrated since 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Shaw and his colleagues celebrated the day consuming fruit pies.

Here are eleven more facts about Pi Day:

1. What is Pi? It's a symbol used in math to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

2. Pi is considered to be an irrational and transcendental number, which means it will continue infinitely without a repition or a pattern.

3. In 1706, William Jones made it popular to use the Greek letter pi to represent the mathematical constant of 3.14. Incidentally, Pi is the 16th letter in the Greek alphabet and "P" is the 16th letter in the English alphabet.

4. The value of Pi has been calculated to over more than two trillion digits beyond its decimal point.

5. William Shanks, who died in 1882, is said to have calculated the first 707 digits of Pi. Unfortunately, he made a mistake after the 527th place and as such, every other calculation after that was incorrect. Chemistry student Chao Lu, meanwhile, set the world record in 2005 by memorizing the first 67,890 digits of pi. Chao reportedly practiced for four years and it took 24 hours and 4 min to accomplish the feat.

7. Did you know the first 144 digits of pi add up to a sum of 666, which is also the Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation?

8. Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day: March 14, 1879.

9. In season 2 episode 14 ("Wolf in the Fold") of "Star Trek," Spock (Leonard Nimoy) destroys an evil computer by ordering it to "compute to the last digit the value of pi."

10. In 1995, during the OJ Simpson trial, the reliability of a witness was brought into question when he got the value of pi wrong. This led to disputes between defense attorney Robert Blasier and an FBI agent.

11. Man has studied pi for over 4,000 years, dating back to 2000 B.C. when the ancient Babylonians determined that the circle ratio constant was 3-1/8 or 3.125. The ancient Egyptians computered a value that was a little different at 3-1/7 or 3.143. That said, the earliest written record of pi is on the Rhind Papyrus by Ahmes (c. 1650 BC), an Egyptian scribe. Experts believe his estimation is less than one percent off from modern calculations.

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