be well-rounded (circu-LARRY-ty?) and pi-lingual: CELEBRATE PI  DAY !

What’s pi ?   Pi is a number that comes from dividing the distance around a circle (i.e., circumference) by the distance across that circle (i.e., diameter). That ratio is the same no matter how big the circle is. Though this relationship has been known for thousands of years, it was only 3 centuries ago (1706) that the 16th lowercase Greek letter π (pi, the first letter of the Greek word perimetrog for “surrounding perimeter”) was introduced.  Pi is an irrational number and so its decimal representation never stops or repeats, but so far, computers have found over 100 trillion decimal places!

What’s “Pi Day”?  We can write March 14 as 3-14, and 3.14 is the beginning of that special number pi. For over 3 decades (thanks to another Larry — physicist Larry Shaw of San Francisco’s Exploratorium in 1988), math classes, math clubs, and museums from coast to coast have observed each March 14 as PI DAY, a chance to celebrate not just pi, but also the too-often-unsung beauty and connections of all math in our world. By passing House Resolution 224 in 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives enshrined March 14 as “Pi Day” to encourage “schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.” The “month/day/year” format used in the US (and Belize), makes Pi Day (3/14) a fairly distinctive American holiday!  And it’s also Einstein’s birthday.

OUTREACH: Louie Saenz did a 16-minute interview (incorporating part/all of Lesser’s 3 pi songs) of Lesser for Pi Day 2019 (and it was reprised for Pi Day 2020) on regional NPR-station KTEP (88.5 FM), https://www.ktep.org/post/focus-campus-larry-lesser-1; that same station has done several mid-March airings (since 2005) of Lesser’s special “Pi Day” episode for the “Desert Diaries” show, which sparked the creation of a “math category” of episodes. Lesser has helped with pi day events for elementary school students (e.g., Canutillo ES; see, for example, this article), middle school students (e.g., Henderson MS, see this; a grades 1-8 school, see this), high school students (e.g., Emery HS in Houston; see article in fall 2004 Texas Mathematics Teacher), and college students (e.g., with UTEP’s undergraduate math club, Club Zero: see, for example, this). See bottom of this page for related media coverage.



Pi Day Haiku (not to be confused with “pi-ku”):  Lesser was announced by “Math Matters at Taylor & Francis” social media on 4/8/15 as a winner of its Pi Day of the Century haiku contest for his entry, which he later published in Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (on p. 456 of https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol8/iss1/22/). Pi Day 2015 was “Pi Day of the Century” because the date 3/14/15 is the only one this century that contains not just three, but the first five digits of pi!

also, Lesser has a poem “Di(a)meter” that’s published with accompanying classroom Q&A in Oct. 2017 Texas Mathematics Teacher63(2), 14, 31.  and also anthologized on p. 60 of Sarah Glaz (Ed.), Bridges 2018 Poetry Anthology.

Pi-lish poetry: https://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.com/search?q=pilish


Pi Cartoon: https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/resources/fun/cartoons/statisticians-favorite-uses-pi

Lesser’s comic-strip-based lesson at “A Round This Date in Time; Pizza Pi, Anyone?” Cartoon Corner in the March 2007 Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 12(7), pp. 383, 387.


for TEACHERS:  See Lesser’s 6-page article “Slices of Pi: Rounding Up Ideas for Celebrating Pi Day” in the fall 2004 Texas Mathematics Teacher. Also of interest is Sandra A. Daire’s Pi Day article “Celebrating Mathematics All Year ‘Round” in the March 2010 Mathematics Teacher103(7), 509-513. Also, teachers interested in culturally relevant mathematics will appreciate Lesser’s article in The Jewish Educator and the “value of pi” section of Lesser’s article in Journal of Mathematics and Culture.

for RESEARCHERS:  Lesser co-wrote about family math nights which featured pi activities: “Parent Power Nights: A Vehicle for Engaging Adults/Families in Learning Mathematics” in the Nov. 2008 Adults Learning Mathematics International Journal, 3(2b), 36-52.

PI-POURRI of other links: 

http://www.piday.org/     http://www.pidayinternational.org/     http://piday.momath.org/   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_Day


Lucy Kaplansky sings her dad’s song

Muzology’s “Pi is Fly” song




www.piacrossamerica.org    teachpi.org    www.pidye.com     http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=2147483830

illuminations.nctm.org/ActivityDetail.aspx?ID=161    www.exploratorium.edu/learning_studio/pi/

 mathforum.org/t2t/faq/faq.pi.html    www.mathmuseum.org/piday.htm   www.mathwithmrherte.com/pi_day.htm

www.avoision.com/experiments/pi10k/pi10k.html    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_Day     http://megsl.org/pi.html

www.kathimitchell.com/pi.html     mathworld.wolfram.com/Pi.html     www.pi-world-ranking-list.com/lists/index.html

www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Pi_through_the_ages.html     www.joyofpi.com/pilinks.html

eveander.com/trivia/   www.projectmathematics.com/storypi.htm    www.mste.uiuc.edu/activity/estpi

polymer.bu.edu/java/java/montepi/montepiapplet.html      www.math.utah.edu/~alfeld/Archimedes/Archimedes.html






MEDIA COVERAGE of Lesser’s Pi Day Activities:

Interviewed on 3/14/19 by Louie Saenz, “Focus on Campus”, aired 3/15/19 10-10:16am, regional NPR-station KTEP (88.5 FM): https://www.ktep.org/post/focus-campus-larry-lesser-1; reprised in 2020

UTEP social media posts on March 14, 2018 & 2017 such as: https://www.facebook.com/UTEPMiners/videos/10152648258556160/

Herrera, Valerie (2015, April 7). Professor wins pi day of the century contest. The Prospector100(23), 9. Also online here.   theprospectordaily.com/2015/04/07/professor-wins-pi-day-of-the-century-contest/

Cohen, Cindy Graff (2015, April). Larry Lesser wins ‘Pi Day of the Century’ song contest. The Jewish Voice, p. 14.

Masterson, Veronique (2015, March 20). [story on Lesser’s winning national pi day song contest was the closing (and longest) story that week] UTEP Headlines Video Newscasthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuaXz3sIcMc

UTEP News (2015, March 16). Math song wins on pi day of the century. http://news.utep.edu/?p=29484

Facebook.com/UTEPMiners (2015, March 14, 3:14 pm). 2:38 video posted of me explaining Pi Day

Lopez, Meghan (2015, March 14, 9:10 pm). KFOX-TV newscast, with online story by Adriana

Candelaria posted at http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/UTEP-professor-nominated-for-Pi-Day-of-the-Century-song-award-102922.shtml#.VQUYz2TF-gI

Rodriguez, Ashlie (2015, March 14, at 5:14pm6:09pm, 10:09pm). ABC-affiliate KVIA-TV newscast

Wadsworth, Ford (2015, March 22-28). Pi news [Whispers column]. El Paso Inc., 21(30), 7A.

Martinez, Aaron (2015, March 15). UTEP professor wins songwriting contest [18 column inches]. El Paso Times135(74), B1. [story also appeared online at http://elpasotimes.com/news/ci_27713752/utep-professor-wins-pi-day-century-songwriting-contest the day before with same text but with different headline]

Lopez, Meghan (2015, March 14, 10:15pm). CBS-affiliate KDBC-TV newscast, with online story by

Adriana Candelaria posted at http://www.cbs4local.com/news/features/local-headlines/stories/MatheMusician-professor-engages-students-in-music-and-math-102935.shtml#.VQWS12TF-g

“El Paso Jewish Academy to Celebrate its First Pi Day!” (2008, April). The Jewish Voice, p. 19. http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/EPJA2008piday.gif

“Pi x 300 years = fun for Canutillo students” (2006, March 3). El Paso Times126(62), p. B6 West.

“Celebrating Pi” (2006, March 15). UTEP Horizons Online News, Que Pasa. https://www.ia.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=37338

“Pi Day” segment (including interview with me) from Canutillo ES on 10pm newscast on El Paso’s CBS-affiliate

KDBC-TV on March 1, 2006; also, on El Paso’s KINT-TV (Univision, Channel 26).

“Henderson Middle” (2005, June), El Paso PROPS Magazine, p. 15

“Pi Day Celebration” (2005, May), Newsletter of Greater El Paso Council of Teachers of Mathematics4(5), 1-2.

“MATH HOLIDAYS” also include e Day (every Feb 7), Tau Day (every June 28), Pi Approximation Day (every July 22), Fibonacci Day (every Nov. 23),  Pythagorean Theorem Day (next one: 7/24/25), TWOSday 2-22-22 (which I was interviewed about by Louie Saenz for the Feb. 18, 2022 “Focus on Campus” program on KTEP-FM), Square Root Day (next one: 5/5/25), and dates that are palindromes