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# Happy Pi Day: Circle this date

Photo credit: Xavier Mascareñas | The pecan pie on the Thanksgiving Day menu is photographed at Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern in Saugerties. (Nov. 14, 2012)

Today is Pi Day, a reminder that math can be fun even if you’re not a geek: Just look around you.

What do a pizza, the Earth, the sun, the moon, a baseball and the Grand Central Terminal’s dome have in common? The circle, of course.

And what do all circles have in common?

A unique ratio called Pi -- the ratio of a circle’s circumference to the diameter, which is always 22:7. If the circumference is 22 inches, the diameter must be 7 inches. That’s a constant for a perfect circle. Otherwise, it would be an ellipse or some other shape.

Divide 22 by 7 and you get 3.14159 ... an irrational number, depending on how much space you have to the right! It’s called an irrational number because the figures after the decimal neither end nor repeat themselves.

That’s why today, 3/14 is Pi Day, "rounded" off.

The mathematical constant was discovered by the Greek philosopher Ptolemy.

There’s probably a reason why they’re called pizza pi-es.

So the next time you find yourself going around in circles (if not already), think pi!

Click here for a celebration of all things circular in the Hudson Valley.

Tags: Holidays

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