Have your Pi and eat it too


PIER 15 — Thanks to the Exploratorium’s very own physicist Larry Shaw — who founded Pi Day — March 14 is an unofficial holiday celebrated by the mathematically-inclined around the globe.

Pi Day is an annual commemoration of the famous mathematical constant π (pi), the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Shaw, also known as the Prince of Pi, spearheaded the Pi Day procession Thursday with fellow Pi fans holding handmade single-digit Pi signs in numerical sequence of 3, 1, 4 and beyond.

The parade ended around the freshly installed Pi Shrine right outside Pier 15, the new home of the San Francisco’s Exploratorium on the historic Embarcadero.

As if that wasn’t enough, Shaw —  a 73-year-old retired physicist from Mill Valley — was ebullient to tell SFBay how much he enjoys the yearly event after initiating it 25 years ago:

“Not only is it Einstein’s birthday, we get to celebrate Pi Day with educational programs here at the new Exploratorium, hopefully expanding the museum into Pier 17 in the near future.”

Shaw first established the official large-scale Pi Day event in 1988, when Pi revelers enjoyed all things pi and later filled their pieholes with you guessed it, all kinds of sweet pies ranging from lemon pie to pecan pie to your traditional apple pie.

More than 100 participants and volunteers of all ages were in attendance Thursday afternoon. Due to overcast skies, the Pi in the Sky writing event scheduled for 1:59 p.m. was canceled.

Ava St. John, 26 years old, and her husband, John St. John, 27, of Santa Cruz, were also in attendance. The couple were married at 1:59 p.m. on Pi Day last year at the old Exploratorium location at the Palace of Fine Arts. Ava told SFBay:

“There is no better day to celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary than be here on Pi Day.”

Located on the waterfront, the new Exploratorium is a 10-minute walk from the landmark Ferry Building, easily accessible by foot, ferry from Sausalito or Alameda, or via bicycles or on historic Muni trolleys. The public grand opening is slated for  April 17.

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