Friday, March 14, 2008

Who knew?

And here I thought all my parties this weekend would involve embracing my Irish roots. A buddy just passed along an e-mail letting me know that today is Pi Day. Nope, I didn't forget the e...For those who (like me) are completely unfamiliar with this holiday, apparently it was born 20 years ago at San Francisco's Exploratorium and it celebrates the mathematical constant known as pi. Today, you see, is March 14 - or 3/14. And pi roughly equals infinitum. Get it? Anyhoo, today also happens to be math genius Albert Einstein's birthday, so I guess it was meant to be.
Here's some more information on the holiday, as well as its creator, a physicist named Larry Shaw.

"Pi represents the relationship between one dimension to another in the sense of the linear dimension and the plane; or the relation of the linear dimension and the sphere. Pi is key to these relationships. So for Shaw, Pi was in the air and definitely on his mind. He and his colleagues were talking about a Pi Shrine or a Pi Day, something to make the concept of rotation noteworthy. And so it all came together. For the first Pi Day, they installed a Pi Shrine (a small brass plate engraved with pi to a hundred digits) at the exact center of a circular Exploratorium classroom, a spot that also corresponds to the center-line of the museum's building. And they walked around the shrine because as Shaw notes, "People go around things to show respect to them in many cultures and religions." And they ate pie. It wasn't until 1989 at the 3rd Pi Day, that the overlap with Einstein's birthday was uncovered by Shaw's 14-year-old daughter Sara, who is, today, a veterinarian. She was writing a report on Einstein and told her dad that his Pi Day -- 3/14 -- was also Einstein's birthday. Voila. With all that mathematical kismet going for it, Pi Day gradually took on an international life of its own."

What I find most entertaining is all the pi-related rituals that appear to accompany this holiday. Participants sing Pi Day songs, bead a "pi string" and circumnaviate a pi shrine? Even better, though, it appears they eat pie...And that's certainly something I can appreciate. So in honor of pi - and Albert Einstein - I'm going to enjoy some sugar-free lemon chiffon pie tonight, thanks to this fab new recipe from!

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