Pi Day is the celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), which is approximately 3.14159265359. Amongst other things, many know its use for calculating the area of a circle. Since the first three digits of π are 3.14, the date chosen to observe Pi Day is 3/14. It was first celebrated in 1988 at the San Fransisco Exploritorium, where staff physicist and organizer Larry Shaw along with other staff and members of the community walked around in a circle eating pie. It caught on, and now people around the globe are celebrating with pie eating and throwing contests, π recitation contests and more.
Since it’s vital in geometry, trigonometry, and physics, you would think Princeton University would be the organizer of Pi Day in Princeton, NJ. But, it was in 2009 when Princeton Tour Company owner Mimi Omiecinski had the brilliant idea of bringing Pi Day to Princeton, and organized the special fête the following year. Since then, it has become a Princeton tradition.
Pi Day has practically become a holiday in town because it has developed into an extended weekend of festivities. This stems from the fact that Princeton resident, Nobel Prize recipient, and Institute of Advanced Studies physicist Albert Einstein celebrated his birthday on March 14th. An extra layer of events had been added to honor our hometown hero. This rare phenomenon probably makes Princeton, NJ the epicenter of Pi Day, so as you can imagine there’s pandemonium in town!
Not only are there activities and contests from the library to tours, but there are town-wide special prices using the numerals 3,1, and 4. The festivities take place from Thursday, March 10 – Monday, March 14, 2016. The first event sets the tone. Thomas Levenson, Professor of Science Writing at M.I.T., will discuss his latest book The Hunt for the Vulcan: And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe. Boom!
Following that are a series of events, with most happening on Saturday, March 12, including a pie eating contest, Einstein look-a-like contest, pi recitation, cupcake decorating, a birthday party for our dear ol’ Einstein, and a couple of Nerd Herd Smart Phone Pub Crawls! Oh, but there’s so much more! A total of 29 activities have been planned, plus special pricing in stores and restaurants. Pandemonium!
In honor of Einstein’s birthday, head over to Landau’s and check out their Einstein museum in the back. There are articles, letters, a cutout, a statue, and more all waiting for you to view. Next, head over to the Nassau Inn so you can dine at the booth in their gastro pub Yankee Doodle Tap Room where Dr. Einstein carved his name into a table. Stop by his house at 112 Mercer Street and take a selfie in front of it, and visit his statue at the corner of Bayard Lane /Route 206 and Stockton Street/Route 27 (the former Borough Hall).
Click here for a complete guide of Pi Day Princeton events.