Pi Day is the international event invented by the Exploratorium in San Francisco and celebrated every year on 3/14 at 1:59 pm (the first five values of pi). The 25th Annual Pi Day falls just in advance of the Exploratorium’s reopening at its new home on Pier 15 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, and the famed museum has planned a Pi Day extravaganza. In addition to the host of traditional activities Pi Day fans have come to expect from the celebration, a new Pi Shrine will be ceremoniously placed on the public plaza in front of the museum before the Pi Procession and pi rituals are performed and pie (in various forms) eaten.
But perhaps the most spectacular homage to pi on March 14 will be seen directly overhead at 1:59 p.m. as the artist ISHKY, in collaboration with AirSign, coordinates a team of five synchronized aircraft equipped with dot matrix technology to skywrite the first 314 numbers of pi’s infinite sequence at just over 10,000 feet altitude above the Exploratorium’s new home at Pier 15 (weather permitting). Each number will measure over a quarter-mile in height, and the aircraft will fly in a loop beginning over Pier 15 and across the waterfront and San Francisco Bay Area communities. Within moments of execution (3.14159265...), the specific meaning of the numbers in the sky will dissolve into the atmosphere, a fitting celebration of the spirit of Pi Day.
Simultaneously, in outer space, miles above Earth’s atmosphere, a second interpretation of “Pi In The Sky” will include a constant string of pi emitted from a satellite. Slated to launch in early March 2013 (launch schedule subject to change) by a Bay Area start-up satellite firm, the numbers of pi and its GPS coordinates will broadcast from the satellite and circle the Earth every 90 minutes, covering more than a half-a-million kilometers per day. Receiving stations on the ground will pick up these signals and relay the information over the web.
ISHKY Studios, in conjunction with app developer Southern Stars, is currently developing a smartphone app that will enable users anywhere in the world to locate the satellite overhead and track pi’s travel as it wraps our Earth like a ball of string. Tentatively titled “Pi Gazer,” the app will be available for download in time for Pi Day, allowing pi fanatics to begin tracking pi in space.
The Exploratorium’s 25th Annual Pi Day celebration will be from 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, March 14, 2013 outside Pier 15. Additional Pi Day activities will include the Pi Procession, pizza tossing demonstrations by Joe Forte of Pasquale’s Pizzeria (and the chance to practice your own tossing techniques), quirky presentations by Exploratorium staff explaining the history of pi and how it is calculated, and other interactive pi activities. All Pi Day events are free.
As is customary on Pi Day, a delectable selection of edible pies will be available for participants to enjoy, baked this year by the Exploratorium's brand new culinary partner Curiosity Catering, a collaboration between Chef Loretta Keller of COCO 500, and Bon Appetit Management Company.
Pi Day is free and will be held outdoors, in front of the Exploratorium’s new home. The museum will not be open during Pi Day, the museum’s grand opening is April 17, 2013. For details about Pi Day, please visit: www.exploratorium.edu/pi