Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Events

# Math geeks have an irrational love for Pi Day on March 14

Today is a special day for math geeks. For one thing, they can get \$3.14 off the final bill for a pizza in South Tampa. But really, it's the calendar.

March 14 is also known as Pi Day because 3.14 represents the first three digits of pi, our favorite irrational number. It's also Albert Einstein's birthday, so geeks have heartily embraced the squiggly Greek letter's special day.

It's one of the few mathematical principles to show up in pop culture and on T-shirts. It's well-known enough that it's in The Simpsons episode "Bye Bye Nerdie." Bumbling professor Frink tries to get a rowdy crowd of scientists at Springfield's 12th Annual Big Science Thing to quiet down, shocking the room into silence by yelling, "Pi is exactly three!"

If anyone asks, here's the short answer for what pi really is: No matter how big or small a circle is, if you calculate the distance around it, divided by the distance across it, you will get pi, or 3.14159 — and trillions more decimal places after that. Computers have yet to find an end to it.

In the Tampa Bay area, some Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza locations will celebrate by baking pizzas in the shape of a pi symbol, said company spokeswoman Sasha Blaney.

And Your Pie, the fast-casual pizza place at 2217 S Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, is taking \$3.14 off your bill today on any pizza you order. Pizzas start at \$7.49.

Pi is used in math, physics, engineering and the space program. Some schools, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also embrace the day. MIT prospects find out on Pi Day whether they've been accepted by logging onto the admissions website at 6:28 p.m. This time represents another pi reference, 6.28, or "tau" (two times pi).

Retired University of South Florida engineering professor Arthur David Snider said he is sometimes asked if there any practical reasons to compute pi to so many decimals.

"In a way, yes," he said.

About 15 years ago one of USF's electrical engineering professors was trying to simulate microwave radiation on a computer, using a technique called the Finite Difference Time Domain algorithm.

"The results were absurdly wrong," he said. "The problem was that a computer needs pi for these calculations. The standard software at that time used the value 3.14159265, and the answers were way off."

It took a 16-digit value to get the correct answer, he said.

"But if some futuristic engineer tried to simulate light waves, a 19-digit value would be required for sensible answers. And for gamma rays, the computer needs to use 3.1415926535897932384626433832."

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

#### Review: Ace Atkins’ ‘The Sinners’ a bloody, and funny, trip to the altar

There’s always so much to deal with in the weeks before your wedding. For Quinn Colson, there’s his mother’s threat to sing Elvis karaoke if he doesn’t hire a band, the question of whether his long-gone stuntman daddy will show up at all, his bride-t...
Published: 07/18/18

#### Bowled over: From acai to poke, the top 10 bowls in Tampa Bay

Why, exactly, are bowls the new plates? The Wall Street Journal declared it so. Tableware companies like Fiesta have reported serious double-digit growth in the sale of bowls, salad bowls, cereal bowls, you name it. Fast-food restaurants have jumped...
Published: 07/17/18

#### Grief and wit, heritage and family dynamics collide in ‘Bad Jews’ at American Stage

ST. PETERSBURG — Whatever else he learned at Cornell University and the Juilliard School, playwright Joshua Harmon surely learned family dynamics. His play, Bad Jews, bristles with wit and malevolence dished out by people for whom familiarity breeds ...
Published: 07/17/18

#### When black performers use their ‘white voice’

In Sorry to Bother You, the wily satirical debut feature from Boots Riley, Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) lands a job at a telemarketing company, where the first rule is "Stick to the script." He stumbles during his first few calls, unable to conn...
Published: 07/17/18

#### Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 18

Broadway Musical Movies: Mary Poppins: In conjunction with Ruth Eckerd Hall announcing its 2018-2019 Broadway Season, Capitol Theatre presents a series of Tony Award winning musicals that have made their way to movie theaters. Upgrade to \$9 and add u...
Published: 07/17/18

#### 1,100 cookie jars. 2000 Hummels. 23 chamber pots: This Tampa Bay couple collects... well, everything.

TAMPA — To be a large, clumsy person in Mary and Dennis Schrader’s house is to feel fear.You tread lightly upstairs, but even so, every step in the room containing row after row of cookie jars brings the sound of ceramic lids rattling on their oh-so-...
Published: 07/16/18

#### Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 17

James After 5: Art Speaks: The museum is open from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday, featuring \$5 admission. While there, tour the many exhibitions of Western and wildlife art, or find happy hour specials in the Canyon Cafe. 5 p.m., James Museum of Western ...
Published: 07/16/18

#### Pasco Events starting July 20

21 SaturdayMedicare 101: A SHINE volunteer will answer Medicare questions. 10 a.m. Free. Land O’ Lakes Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes. (813) 929-1214. floridashine.org.22 SundayEssential Oils Workshop: Learn about essential oils and cr...
Published: 07/16/18

#### Things to Do in Pasco and Hernando Counties starting July 20

FestivalsDade City Antique Faire and Sidewalk Market: Browse a mixture of antiques, primitives, garden decor, jewelry, tools, shabby chic, architectural and vintage when this monthly street event returns from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 21 in downtown Dad...
Published: 07/16/18

#### Hernando Events for July 20

Events20 FridayButterfly Count: Learn to identify common Florida butterflies and how organized butterfly counts work. The count information will be used to populate data in pollinators of Florida for Florida Nature Trackers. For ages 12 and older. No...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/16/18