A Woman In Humanities' Take on Pi Day | Aimee Han
Dear anyone who loves Pi Day,
Today, undeniably, marks a special occasion. Today is the day when we celebrate STEM-oriented classes and careers. Today is the day when we partake in wondrous festivities revolving around comforting slices of pie. Today, ladies and gentlemen, is Pi Day. And for my fellow kids in humanities, this is not the day we celebrate the actual history of pie itself or the tradition of communion surrounding pie. It’s the day we celebrate one of our worst nightmares, pi.
March 14, also known as Pi Day, is an annual celebration in honor of this irrational mathematical symbol that has been, at least personally, one of the most dreaded subjects and symbols to encounter during my somewhat terrifying experiences taking math classes at CCA. Originally founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, the numerical date of 3/14 was particularly selected as a representation of the infamous first three digits of pi; not to mention, it also is coincidentally the birthday of Albert Einstein. Yet it hadn’t become an official national holiday until 2009, in which the U.S. House of Representatives approved of it being (so). Although the first Pi Day consisted of a parade and digging into fruit pies at Shaw’s Exploratorium, nowadays, the day includes a worldwide celebration in many school classrooms and even virtual parties on Second Life.
Yet, as a woman in humanities, I would NOT like to thank Archimedes, the Ancient Greek Mathematician credited with the first accurate calculation 22/7 or pi itself. As someone who struggled (and when I say struggled, I mean struggled) with drawing a perfect circle in class and memorizing all those irrational formulas for calculating the circumference and area of a circle (which to this day, I still haven’t used practically), geometry was never my thing. And a national day where we celebrate pi, essentially a symbol we used to perpetuate our mental exhaustion in math class, sounds absolutely dreadful and, forgive me, irrational. Why are we celebrating something that is intangible, when we can be celebrating the wonderfulness of actual pie itself? Why do we honor a whole entire day for an infinite number of digits that are essentially meaningless and useless to the entirety of our lives, when we can simply just feast on different types of pie, from pumpkin to apple to key lime for all these wonderful pies have to offer?
So, today, in solidarity with my fellow kids in humanities who jumped leaps and bounds mentally in order to acquire those extra points on those math tests by being able to remember to correctly utilize the formulas with pi in them, I will be eating pie for the sake of eating pie. I will refuse to say, “Happy Pi Day,” to the cashier checking me out at the register for the pecan pie I will be willingly purchasing. And while it seems counterintuitive that I am still, in a twisted manner, celebrating Pi Day today by enjoying a nice warm slice of pecan pie with a scoop of Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream, I am fully allowed to act irrationally upon my free will. Anyways, enjoy your pie and not your pi today.
A Woman in Humanities