February 25, 2014

11 Facts About National Pi Day: March 14



Hug for Monte



No—there is not a misspelling in the title of this quiz. It is not National Pie Day. It really is National Pi Day. I elected to celebrate National Pi Day because my husband Monte is a retired physics professor (State University of New York and Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania).

Hopefully you will be less confused than I am after you complete this quiz.



  1.  What is pi?
  2.  Why is National Pi Day celebrated on March 14?
  3.  What alphabet is the word pi from, and where does it fall in this alphabet?
  4.  When was the first Pi Day believed to have occurred
  5. Where was the first Pi Day believed to have occurred
  6. Name the scientist whose birthday fell on March 14
  7. Is Pi Day an officially designated day?
  8. Why is pi an irrational number?
  9. How are hat sizes determined?
  10. What does knowledge of pi contribute to society?


What is the record for computer calculation of Pi’s digits? ___________

What is the record for memorization of Pi digits? __________

Marc Umile holds a personal record of memorizing and typing out from memory how many digits?  ____________

Click on MORE to learn the answers

th 2


  1.  Pi is the number representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter,** a mathematical constant that is approximately equal to 3.14—but its decimals “continue infinitely without repetition or pattern*
  2. Because pi is 3.14, and the March 14th date is often written as 3/14.*
  3. Pi is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet (“π”)***
  4. 1988*
  5. In San Francisco, when Larry Shaw, a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium, celebrated pi by marching around one of the building’s circular spaces with staff, then ate fruit pie.*
  6. Albert Einstein, a German born physicist  (year) **
  7. The U.S. House passed a resolution supporting Pi Day in March 2009 **
  8. Pi is an irrational number because its digits never end and that it doesn’t contain repeating sequences of any length.****  Pi is irrational because it cannot be represented as one number divided by another—and it is transcendental, meaning it is not algebraic.**
  9. Hat sizes are correlated to the circumference of the head. The head’s circumference divided by pi gives us the hat size. The circumference of an adult’s head usually ranges between 21 and 25 inches.  ****
  10. Designing any structure with cylindrical components involves pi, as the formula for area.** Without calculating with pi great engineering projects, like the arch or suspension bridges, would be at risk of being incomplete or being in danger of collapse. Additionally, the question of whether there’s a pattern in pi’s apparent chaos has enormous implications as biologists look for meaning in the human genome map.**


What is the record for computer calculation of Pi’s digits?

2.7 trillion digits—in December 2009 by French computer scientist Fabrice Bellard **

What is the record for memorization of Pi digits?

67,890 digits—in 2005 by Chao Lu, 2005

Marc Umile holds a personal record of memorizing and typing out from memory how many digits?

15,314 digits**

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  1. Reminds me of joke. - An old redneck sent his son off to college. He was very proud of this because – his son would be the first in his family to get a college degree. His son came home for Christmas break and the dad said, “son – let me hear some college talk.” The son said – ” Pi R square.” The father – was dismayed – he said “son, we will have to find you another school, to go to. – everyone knows that Pie are round – and cornbread are square?.”


    Comment by Fred Wells — February 25, 2014 @ 11:57 am | Reply

    • Thanks Phred, for the touch of humor. Hope you are not too cold in Alabama. Carolyn

      Comment by carolyncholland — February 25, 2014 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

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