On This Day
Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.
Pi Approximation Day is observed on July 22 (22/7 in the day/month date format), since the fraction 22⁄7 is a common approximation of π, which is accurate to two decimal places and dates from Archimedes.
The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.
On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (111 H. Res. 224), recognizing March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day. For Pi Day 2010, Google presented a Google Doodle celebrating the holiday, with the word Google laid over images of circles and pi symbols.
The entire month of March 2014 (3/14) was observed by some as “Pi Month”. In the year 2015, Pi Day had special significance on 3/14/15 (mm/dd/yy date format) at 9:26:53 a.m. and also at p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of π. Pi Day of 2016 was also significant because its mm/dd/yy represents pi rounded to the first five digits.
Pi Day has been observed in many ways, including eating pie, throwing pies and discussing the significance of the number π, due to a pun based on the words “pi” and “pie” being homophones in English ( /paɪ/).
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has often mailed its application decision letters to prospective students for delivery on Pi Day. Starting in 2012, MIT has announced it will post those decisions (privately) online on Pi Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers pi and tau equally. In 2015, the regular decisions were put online at 9:26 AM, following that year’s “pi moment”.
Princeton, New Jersey, hosts numerous events in a combined celebration of Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday, which is also March 14. Einstein lived in Princeton for more than twenty years while working at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to pie eating and recitation contests, there is an annual Einstein look-alike contest.
Born On This Day
1887 – Sylvia Beach, American-French publisher, founded Shakespeare and Company (d. 1962)
Sylvia Beach (March 14, 1887 – October 5, 1962), born Nancy Woodbridge Beach, was an American-born bookseller and publisher who lived most of her life in Paris, where she was one of the leading expatriate figures between World War I and II.
She is known for her Paris bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, where she published James Joyce’s controversial book, Ulysses (1922), and encouraged the publication and sold copies of Hemingway’s first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923).
Beach was born in her father’s parsonage in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, on March 14, 1887, the second of three daughters of Sylvester Beach and Eleanor Thomazine Orbison. She had an older sister, Holly, and a younger sister, Cyprian. Although named Nancy after her grandmother Orbison, she later decided to change her name to Sylvia. Her maternal grandparents were missionaries to India, and her father, a Presbyterian minister, was descended from several generations of clergymen. When the girls were young the family lived in Baltimore and in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Then in 1901, the family moved to France upon Sylvester Beach’s appointment as assistant minister of the American Church in Paris and director of the American student center.[not in citation given]
Beach spent the years 1902-1905 in Paris, returning to New Jersey in 1906 when her father became minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Princeton. Beach made several return trips to Europe, lived for two years in Spain, and worked for the Balkan Commission of the Red Cross. During the last years of the Great War, she was drawn back to Paris to study contemporary French literature.[not in citation given]
Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Hawking was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general. His book, A Brief History of Time, appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
Hawking had a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease), that gradually paralysed him over the decades. Even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device, initially through use of a hand-held switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle.
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