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Celebrating Pi Day with Much More Than Pie

Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant, pi ( π ). It’s observed every year on March 14, or 3/14, because those are the first few digits of pi.

Check out physicist Fred. This guy loves pi. He’s the original prince of Pi Day.

This year for Pi Day, I wanted to do more than just tweet photos of our team here at the NGINX SF offices eating pie, so I googled the holiday and learned some pretty cool stuff.

The earliest known celebration happened right here in San Francisco at the awesome playground of science, the Exploratorium. Founded in 1969 by the physicist Frank Oppenheimer, the Exploratorium was long housed at the Palace of Fine Arts, which was built for the 1915 Panama‑Pacific International Exposition, a world’s fair officially celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and unofficially showing off San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake.

I bring this up because I used to be a tour guide, so I tell rambling stories. And one of those stories was from my great‑grandfather, who helped build the Palace of Fine Arts. He loved that the Exploratorium was co‑located there, so that we could all appreciate the marriage between art and science. How beautiful is that?

See, Pi Day is about more than just pie. It’s about appreciating the impact math has on our lives. We use it daily in analytics, programming, and to tip a hardworking waiter. We’d still be cavepeople if we didn’t have math. So this year, I asked the employees of NGINX to celebrate with more than just pie in the office. We’re also making a contribution to an organization that changes people’s lives through math: the San Francisco Education Fund.

The San Francisco Education Fund’s invitation to participate in Pi Day.

From their website:

“Mastering math is key to graduating from high school, persisting in college and unlocking careers in STEM. Studies show that students scoring in the top quartile in eighth‑grade reading and math standardized tests are 61% more likely to enroll at a four‑year college.

Our Math Program helps provide the necessary support to ensure San Francisco public school students master math by eighth grade. We direct community resources to three of San Francisco’s highest‑need middle schools to help students reach this critical milestone.”

This organization provides a brighter future for many young students, for teachers, and for the community many of us live and work in. We hope that today you’ll take a moment to appreciate math, and maybe help someone else discover their love of the subject too. And, if you make a donation to the Fund (mention us here at NGINX in the notes), or if you support another relevant organization for Pi Day, tweet at us, and we’ll retweet to spread the good word.

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