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Happy Pi Day from Labs

Curt_Hopkins

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It's Pi Day again, the annual celebration of irrational exuberance surrounding the mathematical constant π, or as the kids put it, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is celebrated every year on March 14, often at 1:59 (i.e., 3.14159).

Here at Hewlett Packard Labs, the celebration takes place in our purpose-built P-SESA (Pie-Scarfing and Equation Solving Arena).

As the folks behind the Pi Day site note, "Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits."

As a corollary, pie's infinitely delicious nature – and superiority to every other pastry under the sun – makes it a fun challenge to bolt down (first publicly, then later furtively in a crumb-speckled cubicle or lab), a challenge each and every Labs researcher and other employee rose to meet.

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The first Pi Day was celebrated in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, just up the road from our Palo Alto facilities, by Larry Shaw, a physicist. In March of 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution, HRES 224, recognizing March 14 as National Pi Day.

The date of the first Pi Day celebration here at Labs has been lost in the mists of time, but our best guess puts it about 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067 years ago. 

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About the Author

Curt_Hopkins

Managing Editor, Hewlett Packard Labs