Pi Day: May it last forever


On March 14, math nerds and pie lovers of the world celebrate the number pi, written π or 3.14. Pi is such a revered number that it has a national day named in its honor: Congress made Pi Day official in 2009, an annual fete of the mathematical constant.

Why March 14? It is numerically 3.14, which are the first three digits of pi. The digits of pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, always end up as 3.14, and so pi can answer questions about circles, spheres, and space itself. Pi, in reality, has an infinite number of digits, as far as anyone has determined. In 2021, researchers at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons (Switzerland) calculated 31.4 trillion more digits, bringing the total to 62.8 trillion decimal places, without any discernible repeating patterns.

Pies of any sort are great object lessons for explaining how the 3.14 is arrived at. You take a string or piece of yarn and measure around the pie. Then you take a ruler or tape measure and measure the string to get the circumference number. Then measure the length across the pie, going across the middle, or diameter. Now divide the circumference by the diameter and you will get 3.14. If you want to calculate the area of the pie (the circle), you use the formula “pi r squared,” or pi times the radius (a straight line from the center to the circumference of a circle) squared.

After you’ve conquered the calculation, Must Read Alaska recommends you reward yourself with a slice of pie — at 3:14 pm, preferably. And if not pie, then pizza and a pint. And if not pizza and beer, then a slice of pineapple. You’ll figure it out.


  1. Math is great. Unlike science, it’s based on fact. Until the school district gets ahold of it. Then, 2+2= whatever you want. Maybe this is why banks are failing.

    • Science is based data/evidence and then testing and replication of that evidence. Clearly you were sleeping during science class in school. Maybe brush up on evolutionary theory or the germ theory of disease? Might be a good place for you to start.

  2. Pi, the circular constant, is an irrational ratio and is considered one of the five most useful constants in mathematics. Another is Euler’s number, e, or 2.71828…. the base of the natural logarithms, or, the limit of (1+1/n)^n as n approaches infinity. An especially powerful tool in financial analysis.
    Math and science is always a refreshing break from the standard political debate topics.

      • No, Bill. Wayne means irrational ratio.
        Just because you have never heard of it, does not mean he is incorrect. I suspect there is a LOT you have never heard of, does not make it wrong.
        Here’s a tip. Google is your friend. Had you spent a few nanoseconds checking the term, you would not have made that comment and beclowned yourself.

  3. Pecan Pie:
    1 cup Karo syrup
    1 cup brown sugar
    3 eggs, beaten
    2 Tablespoons butter, melted
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/2 cup pecans
    Zest from one orange.

    Combine ingredients, gently folding in pecans. Pour into crust (Store bought roll works fine) and bake at 350 degrees 45 to 55 minutes. Allow to cool.

    I used to think Pecan Pie was limited to great southern cooks. Turns out Mr. Karo toured the US with his invention, Karo Syrup. Mr & Mrs Karo taught everyone how to make Pecan Pie to sell Karo Syrup. Now an American classic.
    The 5 minute recipe on Karo syrup is great. Add orange zest to bring it up to MRAK standards!


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