My Love-Hate Relationship with Pi(e)

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Happy Pi Day world!

For those of you who have previously been deprived of Pi Day celebrations… Here is the rationale.  Today is March 14.  3/14.  Similar to 3.14, which is the start of the irrational number that is Pi (an irrational number is a number for which its value cannot be expressed as a fraction with integers).  Pi is also a transcendental number, meaning that no finite sequence of operations on integers.  It has been calculated to over 5 trillion decimal digits.   We most commonly see Pi used in the calculation of the circumference of a circle.

With a cool name like Pi, its significance in the math world and a conveniently matching date, its no wonder that people celebrate today as Pi day.

I have a love-hate relationship with Pi day.

I first remember being introduced to Pi in what I believe to be grade 3 math… Or maybe grade 4…. Needless to say, it was calculating the circumference of circles.  I liked math, so I thought it was pretty cool.  And I liked using the symbol.

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In high school, I was a bit of a nerd and we celebrated all kinds of mathematical/scientific days… Mole day (October 23 at 6:02) to celebrate Avogadro’s number and Pi day to celebrate, well, Pi.   Anyway, I remember wasting spending time in chem class writing a mole day song… It was to the tune of Wonderwall by Oasis.  Pi day was celebrated by having a pie throw and sale for Pi day.  There was also a song, but it was definitely not as cool as the mole day one.

A guy in my class actually used the last 100 characters of his grad write-up to write out Pi.  Seriously.  I was the editor of that section.  I made him type it himself.  A mistake would have been ridiculous.  Moreso than the fact he put Pi in his grad write-up.

When I was in grade 11, there were two IB math classes and we had math during the same period in classrooms next door to one another.  My teacher was the vice principal and had taught the course for years.  The other class had a new teacher, who liked to spice things up.  Somehow, the vice principal thought that it would be fun to prank the other class, so one time during a split assembly, he made us go to the one we weren’t assigned to, so that when we got back, their room would be empty. You see, for Pi day, the teacher thought it would be fun to get them to design and color numbers of Pi and put them, in order around the room… Even more unfair lame, she gave each person who added a number bonus points.  So, we went in and changed two numbers… Of the two hundred or so on the wall.  Nobody noticed, so the VP left a note saying that something changed in the room.  So funny.  They took pictures and posted them on the school website and everything, but nobody noticed.  Needless to say, once they figured us out, the next assembly, they inverted our entire room and filled the entire board with Pi.

So, all of this sounds lovely and fun… And it was.  But, I disliked Pi because of the whole bonus points affair because I am an anal retentive and competitive student believe in equal treatment.

Despite all of the entertainment of Pi Day and the geekery that I love so dearly, I have some qualms about Pi Day.  As I said before… Love-hate.

Image via Wikipedia.

The biggest issue I have with Pi day is that I hate pie.  I am a freak, I know… But I just don’t like it.  I don’t like the crust, I don’t care for cooked fruit and the combination is atrocious.  I never liked pie.  My grandmother used to make the best apple pie ever (or so they say).  I wouldn’t know.  It tasted as bad as other pies to me.  Though, I wish she had enough memory to give me the recipe now, so I could make it for other people.  Regardless, I don’t like pie.  And what do people eat to celebrate Pi day?  Pie.  Food is the way to my heart and Pi day has failed me there.  So sad.

On a bright side, the Child posted a picture of a Pi day cookie she got at university today.  I could go for a cookie.  Thanks to my undergrad school, Pi day moved up a notch for me.  If only someone here would give me a Pi day cookie.

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My other issue with Pi day is that Pi is not my favorite constant or irrational number.  Euler’s number is.  I know, ridiculous, right?  Who doesn’t love Pi?  But, I like it.  Its just that Euler’s number is better.  It is used to calculate all things radioactive.  It isn’t as amenable to making a day, as it is 2.718 etcetera… But I tried February 7 once.  It worked.  Except the only people who would care were my nuc med friends who concocted the day with me.  It likely won’t catch.  Too bad, though.  Euler’s number is cool.

Also, I have an irrational dislike for irrational numbers.  I like to be able to identify beginnings and ends to my numbers (infinity also causes me to struggle).   I think it has something to do with my weird OCD type habits (like my preference for 3 and 7).  I just like numbers that have an end, so that I can know all of their digits.

The fact that Pi is so mainstream bothers me too.  Everyone A significant proportion of people I socialize with want to celebrate Pi day, but do they really care about Pi.  Okay, how many people actually care about Pi?  It really doesn’t impact my every day life or work, but it is significant.  But, why celebrate a constant that you don’t even use or understand.  That is what rots me… The people who don’t know what Pi is, but still celebrate… Silly.  Way to go media for making dorky cool. **Wow, in retrospect this makes me sound like a ridiculous elitist hipster… Scary.  And I have talked about the hipster issue before here.**

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Despite the angst that pie and Pi cause, I do love that it is cool enough to be dork enough to celebrate Pi day.  Especially if I can get my hands on some Pi day cookies (it even sounds a little wrong).

Related posts:
“If you can’t explain it to a 6-year old, then you don’t understand it yourself.” -Albert Einstein (
Happy Pi Day! (
Happy Pi Day! (And Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!) (
Nerd Wars (
Let Them Eat Pi (

How do you celebrate Pi day?  Do you prefer another constant over Pi?


3 thoughts on “My Love-Hate Relationship with Pi(e)

  1. Oh my gosh. Trish, this post just made me laugh over and over. I’m a writer through and through, and numbers kind of numb my brain. Er, no pun or play on words intended. Lol. So to get through your post on numbers is impressive! I’d actually forgotten about Pi (don’t hate me) and I didn’t know there was yet another irrational number. So thanks for that educational tidbit. 😉

    Thanks for peeking into my blog (‘Fraidy Cat Confessions) and for liking my post. I look forward to reading more of your blog and learning a lot more! Blessings on you. 🙂

    • Thanks for reading my blog too… Especially given your dislike for numbers, it must have been quite a feat! My husband has similar feelings on numbers. I am glad I could be a bit educational and remind you of Pi.
      I liked your post and plan to come back to read some more!

  2. Pingback: “Special” Days | At least we made it this far...

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