Google on Wednesday (March 14) dedicated its doodle to Pi, the mathematical consonant which represents the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diametre and is significantly used in geometrical calculations. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Pi Day, observed annually on March 14 (3.14). In today’s doodle, an image of ingredients used to bake a salted caramel apple ‘pie’ — Google puns on the word — hints at the tradition of eating pies on this day.
It is believed that it was Greek mathematician Archimedes who created an algorithm to calculate Pi. In Chinese mathematics, using geometrical techniques, the value was approximated to seven digits and to about five digits in Indian mathematics in the 5th century AD.
It is believed that physicist Larry Shaw was the first to celebrate the day at the Exploratorium in San Francisco with his peers and staff almost 30 years ago. Incidentally, in 2009, the United States House of Representatives had voted in favour of designating today as Pi day.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Princeton Universities have devised their own unique ways to celebtate the day. While MIT always posts its application decision letters online specifically on this date at 6.28 pm to honour the rival numbers pi and tau equally, Princeton hosts pie eating contests. Interestingly, Albert Einstein’s birth anniversary falls on March 14, which is also celebrated at Princeton by organising an annual Einstein look-alike contest.