Pi Day: Facts, Food and Fun!
March 14th or 3.14 has been observed as Pi day ever since Larry Shaw, a physicist working at the San Francisco Public Learning Laboratory organized the very first Pi day on March 14th 1988. Shaw, among numerous others over the course of history, was fascinated by this marvelous mathematical constant that stretches to infinity. Is your curiosity piqued too? Read on!
The symbol for pi is the 16th Greek alphabet from which it also gets its name, and curiously enough, its English spelling too begins with the 16th letter of the English alphabet i.e. P. If you divide the circumference of any circle with its diameter you get a constant number that is never ending and displays no pattern. Humanity has been aware of this ratio since as early as 2550 BC. The architects of The Great Pyramid at Giza, which was built between 2550 and 2500 BC, designed it in such a manner that the ratio of its perimeter and height is approximately two times pi. There is textual evidence that dates back to 1900 BC of both the Babylonians and the Egyptians having a rough idea of the value of Pi. Later, around 230 BC, Greek mathematician Archimedes used some fancy geometry to calculate the fraction which represents pi’s value more precisely i.e. 22/7. Modern computers have calculated pi to the trillionth decimal place but still have an infinite way to go to calculate the exact ratio.
For all circles of any size, Pi will be the same, which means that pi is present in the disk of the sun, concentric ripples in still water, the pupils of your eyes, and of course, pies. Pi’s present in nature too. The ratio of a river’s actual length to the straight line distance between the point of its origin and the point of its mouth is called the Meandering Ratio. Albert Einstein theorized that the average Meandering Ratio of all the rivers approach pi.
Another fun fact: Albert Einstein’s birthday falls on Pi day.
Surely reading all this trivia about the irrational Pi must have made you hungry so here’s an easy chocolate cream pie recipe for you!
1. 2 1/2cups whole milk
2. 1/2cup sugar
3. 1/4cup cornstarch
4. 3large egg yolks
5. 1/4teaspoon salt
6. 250 grams chocolate, chopped
7. 4tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
8. 9-inch basic flaky piecrust, prebaked
9. 1cup heavy cream
10. 1/4cup shaved chocolate
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together milk, sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened for about 7 to 8 minutes. Whisk in chopped chocolate and butter.
2. Pour mixture into the piecrust. Chill until firm, 4 to 5 hours. Before serving, whip heavy cream; top the pie with the whipped cream and shaved chocolate.