A rationalization of the irrational – Happy Pi Day!

nkQkF2Pi Day is the unofficial holiday that celebrates the mathematical constant pi (π) on March 14, as the date corresponds with the first three digits of π€ (3.1415926…). Being an irrational number, π can'€™t be expressed exactly as a common fraction, although fractions such as 22/7 and other rational numbers are commonly used (though the fraction itself is not a very scientific approximation). As an irrational and transcendental number, π€ will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.

For me, π is a daily encounter with infinity, and stirs within me a feeling that is almost spiritual. It's fundamental to everything we do: science, math, and engineering. Our world today is run on numbers, and one of the fundamental parts of nature is π. It'€™s not something that we have dreamt up. It guides the construction of planets and orbits of atoms.

The earliest known official celebration of Pi Day was organized in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where staff and the public marched around one of the circular spaces, then consumed pies.

This year will be a once-in-a-century Pi Day. March 14, 2015, at 9:26 a.m. will create the first eight digits of Pi in perfect order. This won'€™t be happening for another century, so it'€™s best to get your Pi day celebrations planned now!

Since this is such a momentous occasion, it's only natural for Cybera'€™s staff to want to take part in this celebration. However, a problem arose when we realized that March 14 actually falls on a Saturday. How can we mathematically overcome this hurdle?

I decided to play around with the numbers a little. The furthest eastern time zone is New Zealand with a GMT of +12. So why not maximize Pi Day by starting off the celebration on March 14 at 9:26am New Zealand time, which is March 13, 2:26pm in Calgary? So this year, Cybera will be celebrating the global start of Pi Day in our office (18 hours earlier than most other Calgarians). And I hope others will follow along, to maximize the celebration, with a little slice of infinity.

If you're interested in having a Pi Day celebration, check out this wiki how-to-page.