Pi Day: Capitol Hill Nerds Tweet Out 3.14

Mar 14, 2014 1:10pm

The Hill has gone crazy for pi.

As every math geek knows, March 14 – 3/14 – is “Pi Day,” a celebration of 3.14, the approximate number used to calculate the area of a circle. And just like elementary school teachers nationwide, America’s lawmakers are pausing to honor the most obsessed-over number in the history of mathematics – and grab a bite of pie.

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Penn., used the fanciful holiday to promote STEM education:

 

In a less predictable policy tie-in, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, compared pi with the national debt. Unfortunately for Cruz, pi is what mathematicians call an “irrational” number – the decimals continue to infinity.

 

MIT grad Sen. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, who famously started a tech company from his dorm room, announced today that he chose his Cannon building office number as an ode to pi.

 

Of course, for some congresspeople, the holiday is simply an excuse to carbo-load.

 

 

 

The history of Pi isn’t without its political tie-ins.

In 1897, the Indiana General Assembly almost passed a bill that would have effectively changed the value of pi to 3.2. Luckily, a Purdue mathematician intervened and pi emerged unscathed.

And filibustering pols could take a lesson from China’s Chao Lu, the Guinness world record holder for pi recitation. Lu reportedly spent 24 hours and 4 minutes reciting – from memory – the first 67,890 digits of pi – without a single bathroom break. That’s just 14 minutes shy of the longest congressional filibuster on record.

Even Healthcare.gov joined in the Pi Day fun with a tie-in of its own:

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