March 14, 2016 8:14 pm

Celebrating Pi Day and Einstein’s Birthday


Formal Portrait of Albert Einstein taken in 1935. Credit: Via Wikipedia: “Sophie Delar, photographer; published in 1955 by “unknown press organization” per source.”

As days of the year go, March 14th has unparalleled status in the geekosphere.

First of all, it happens to have the same 3 digits as the first 3 digits in the mathematical constant known as Pi: 3.14.

In fact, last year’s Pi Day was dubbed the “Pi Day of the Century”, the only day of the century where the date and time could yield the first 10 digits of Pi: 3/14/15, 9:26:53, or 3.141592653.

In case you skipped this in school (or just forgot), Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it is one of the most critical and well, for want of a better word, famous, mathematical constants, used in geometry, trigonometry, probability and statistics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, cosmology and more. It even shows up in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and in Einstein’s field equation, which forms the basis of his General Theory of Relativity.

Which brings us to the other reason March 14th looms so large: it is the birthday of Albert Einstein.

And no matter what day or subject you might have skipped in school, if you’re a StarTalk fan, old Albert needs no introduction from me here.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a couple of videos where Neil explains two of Einstein’s predictions that have recently been proven, including Gravitational Waves, which he predicted almost exactly a century to the day it was finally confirmed, on February 11, 2016.


Here’s Neil talking about Einstein’s predictions about gravitational lensing:

And here’s a video this past Friday’s podcast, where Neil discusses gravitational waves:

Happy Pi Day and Einstein’s Birthday!

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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