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There’s still time to enjoy a slice of Pi Day

Olivia Wells, 10 (left), and Emily Grenadine, 11, both from Methuen, had their pies ready to throw as hundreds of people threw shaving cream pies in Boston City Hall Plaza on Saturday as part of a early Pi Day celebration.
Olivia Wells, 10 (left), and Emily Grenadine, 11, both from Methuen, had their pies ready to throw as hundreds of people threw shaving cream pies in Boston City Hall Plaza on Saturday as part of a early Pi Day celebration.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Pi Day is an annual day of celebration for a hodge-podge of characters: math lovers, pie lovers, pizza lovers, and high school seniors who hope to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Wednesday at 6:28 p.m., they find out if they were accepted.) From Museum of Science visitors to pie shop patrons across the city, lots of people are enjoying a slice of Pi Day.

To the mathematically inclined, Pi Day is the annual celebration of the Greek letter “π,” a symbol used in mathematics to represent “the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — approximately 3.14159,” according to PiDay.org — and to anyone forced to memorize the formula in grade school. Pi is irrational and transcendental and will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.

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To those who avoid math like the plague but are looking to partake in some circular foods, this is the day to find pizza and pie specials. KO Catering and Pies owner and chef Sam Jackson said this is one of the shop’s biggest days of the year.

“We’re a pie shop, and a lot of our clients are geeky techie companies,” he said. It’s got a special, three pies for $14, something to cheer folks up from the doldrums of weather woes. Boston Market and Whole Foods also have Pi Day specials, as do Flour Bakery and Cafe, and Jennifer Lee’s Bakery, at the Boston Public Market.

Word is that MIT Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill grew his beard out to play the role of Luke Skywalker in the university’s latest “Star Wars”-themed admissions video, currently available on YouTube. Schmill can be seen looking especially pensive on the roof of one of the school’s buildings as he’s approached by the film’s favorite new round robot, BB-8. With a smirk, he then takes off in a X-wing fighter, with John Williams’s melodic soundtrack playing in the background. At the end are the words, “These are the decisions you’re looking for” with 6:28 p.m., the exact time students should check decisions.mit.edu. There are apologies in the credits to Mark Hamill, LucasFilms, Disney, and porgs. If you don’t know what a porg is, watch the movie.

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Vi Hart, a self-proclaimed “mathemusician” and “philosopher known primarily for work in mathematics, musical structure, and social justice,” came out with her annual “Pi Day Rant” where she again declares “Pi Day” the worst. Her math-related videos have gathered more than 100 million views. In an e-mail to the Globe, Hart explains why she prefers the Greek letter tau “ταυ” over “π.” To be clear, she doesn’t hate pi. The videos are all in fun and, in her eyes, add “to the public understanding that mathematics is a living subject rather than pre-existing and immutable.”

Finally, a solemn nod to the genius of Stephen Hawking, who died Wednesday at 76. He was born on Jan. 8, 1942, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo, and he died on Albert Einstein’s birthday. Here’s to the mysteries of the cosmos.


Cristela Guerra can be reached at cristela.guerra@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.