Pi Gets the Glory. What About Feigenbaum's Constant Delta?

On Pi Day, math professor suggests other numbers we might celebrate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2023 6:51 AM CDT
Happy Pi Day, America
Happy Pi Day.   (Getty / Olivier Le Moal)

Pi Day is upon us again—March 14, aka 3/14, aka the first three numbers in the famous mathematical constant. Here is a look at what celebrants need to know and eat:

  • Fitting tribute: There is lots of talk about delicious pies on this day, but University of Maryland math professor Manil Suri offers a tribute more in keeping with the science at the Conversation. He floats numbers that might be celebrated in other months. In April, for example, we might salute Feigenbaum’s constant delta, which begins 4.669. On Jan. 6, we would pay homage to the Golden Ratio (1.618...)

  • Tastier tribute: But in terms of delicious pies, the Washington Post is on the case with a dozen recipes to celebrate the pseudo-holiday. "Taking into account the mathematical constant’s relation to circles and it being a homonym to pie," this is a no-brainer, writes Aaron Hutcherson. The list begins with "Peanut Butter Brownie Pie With a Pretzel Crust."
  • Different pie: Pizza makers also are trying to capitalize, and CNET rounds up some national deals.
  • The history: Pi Day began back in 1988 when San Francisco Exploratorium physicist Larry Shaw set out some pies as a goofy tribute at 1:59pm, in honor of the constant's start of 3.14159, per the Takeout. The celebration has grown ever since. Pi measures the circumference of a circle to its diameter, per an explainer at al Jazeera. The concept dates back thousands of years, but it wasn't until the early 18th-century that the Greek letter for p was chosen to represent the constant.
  • Test yourself: Most know 3.14, and some might even be able to rattle off the first 10 digits of 3.1415926535. To see the first million digits, this site has you covered.
(More Pi Day stories.)

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