It’s Pi Day! You’ve probably read, like, 67 Pi Day posts already, but this one is a little bit different. I want to explore the (very weird) history of Pi Day.
So, Pi Day first started in 1988 with a celebration at the San Francisco Exploratorium. They gathered both scientists and the public to walk in a circular parade, then eat fruit pies. But, Wikipedia, being Wikipedia, manages to make it sound like a cult initiation. I’m not kidding; look.
This is what Wikipedia says about Pi Day:
“In 1988, the earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies.”
In my imagination, this is what it looks like: Men in hooded cloaks (because this is the 80s, there’s not that many female scientists) march the initiates around a dark circular room. Then, they sit them down at a table. “Eat the Pi! Eat the Pi!” they chant. To be initiated, the person must eat 3.14 slices. As the hopefuls finish their pie, the numbers begin to fill their heads. A flood of information, a randomized number pattern. They are one with the Science Mother.
Yeah, that’s not how it happened. But I’m a science obsessed teenager. This is how my brain works.
But, wait, there’s more! The Exploratorium has a Pi Shrine. They have a shrine. For Pi. Oh, and it gets better! They end the parade every year by going in a circle around the Pi Shrine 3.14 times while singing Happy Birthday to Albert Einstein. Because science.
Larry Shaw, the original organizer, died in 2017. But the Exploratorium still does a celebration. If you’re in town today or on future Pi Days, you should go! I’ve never been, but it sounds fun.
Ok, so to summarize what you should do: Eat pie. Draw some circles. Talk about numbers.
Actually, these sound like good things to do anytime…
Ok, now go eat some pie!
Bye! (Oh hey, that rhymed.)