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Mar. 14, 2013

Pi Day Mashup

by Julie Leibach

Click to enlarge images
Twenty-five years ago, physicist Larry Shaw, of San Francisco’s Exploratorium, established the first “Pi Day” on March 14th, or 3/14—a fitting date to commemorate an irrational number that so familiarly begins 3.14. The event started as a little staff get-together but ballooned into an international holiday (hear more in this SciFri segment). To get you in the celebratory mood, here are some tributes to those endless digits, and to the Greek letter that symbolizes them. 
 
For a brief history of pi and events surrounding the occasion, visit the Exploratorium’s Pi Day site. (And by the way, March 14th also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday.)
 
SciFri hit the streets of New York City to spread some holiday cheer, stopping by New York University's math department.
 
 
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This mosaic's maker had been gathering images of numbers for many months, without this project in mind. When the montage idea struck, “it was just a matter of picking around in my number collections,” he writes on his flickr page. As one flickr user observed, the hole in the keychain in the second tile acts like the decimal in 3.14… 
 
 
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The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory features a high-voltage transmission line with utility poles built to resemble the Greek letter π. Designed by the lab's founding director, Robert Wilson, the line provides electricity to the lab's main substation and a series of powerful particle accelerators. 
 
 

The architect writes that, "using a formula with pi, I estimated the total dominos in this spiral to be 10,178.75 dominos. I counted the dominos, and the estimate was close. 10,059 dominos were actually used."

 
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Pi in the Sky II, part of a series of three sculptures, by Micajah Bienvenu. "They are all geektastic in 3.14159265359 ways," Bienvenu wrote to SciFri in an email. This piece was photographed on display in Seattle, Washington but is now located in Cary, North Carolina.
 
 
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The Tyler Brown Pi Mile is a 3.14-mile running trail on the Georgia Tech campus. There are four starting points on campus, and disc-shaped markers and maps along the way help keep walkers and runners on the trail. 
 
 
{"input":{"width":490,"photo":"piwales","row":"4665","table":"DOCUMENT"}}
Pi, a sculpture by Rawleigh Clay, appears on the grounds of the National Botanic Garden of Wales.  
 
 
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"Frog Pi" tattoo. 
 
 
In this flick, "a paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature," according to IMDb.
 
 
 
 
 
About Julie Leibach

Julie is the managing editor of ScienceFriday.com. She is a huge fan of sleep and chocolate. Follow her @julieleibach.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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