Today, Google homepages across the world are featuring something delectable and irrational at the same time. March 14 (3.14) is celebrated annually as ‘Pi Day’, the approximation day of the mathematical constant π (3.14159265358979). It is observed on this day as 3,1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of the value of Pi.
Commemorating the day, Google has posted a doodle, which includes the more edible ‘Pie’, baked by award-winning pastry chef, Dominique Ansel. He pays homage to the mathematical constant by representing the pi formula (circumference divided by diameter) using an actual pie.
Pi Day was first recognized by physicist Larry Shaw in 1988. Other than matching the first three digits of the value, it also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday. As Google explains in its blog, Pi Day observers often mark the day with a slice of their favorite pie.
Pi is a fundamental element of many mathematical fields, but most significantly Geometry. Mathematicians have calculated more than one trillion decimal places beyond the standard 3.14, but the irrational number is such that it continues to infinity. It is also used in finding the area of a circle where area = πr².
Meanwhile, NASA is also celebrating Pi Day in its own special manner. The space agency runs the ‘Pi in the Sky’ challenge every year. The challenge is in its fifth year, and features mathematical problems that can be solved using Pi. The topics this year include calculations for Martian earthquakes, helium rain on Jupiter, and the rotation rate of the first interstellar visitor ever discovered, asteroid ‘Oumuamua.
If you wish to celebrate Pi Day, you can follow the recipe by chef Ansel to make a perfect pie. Google has listed all the ingredients, along with a behind-the-scenes of today’s doodle.