Skip Nav
Lisa Frank Obsessed? These 17 Items Will Fuel Your Inner '90s Girl
Stop Fooling Yourself, Girl! 3 Signs He's Clearly NOT Into You
Do NOT Date Before the Divorce Is Finalized Until You Consider These Important Factors

Pi References in Pop Culture For National Pi Day

3.14 Pi References in Pop Culture

Other than some kind of push to get people interested in math, I don't know we need a National Π Day, but we have it. And, at least, the day is well chosen: March 14 (or 3/14) for the 3.14 the Greek letter represents in math. Though it may just be something we learn in prealgebra, fascination over the symbol is dotted throughout pop culture. Why pi though?

In its simplest sense, pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. For most of us, it never meant anything more than plugging 3.14 into math problems, but to mathematicians the number is mind-boggling because its decimal points extend to infinity. Since there are, mercifully, few unknowns in math, the sign has become synonymous with mystery, crossing over from math and science to pop culture. To see how, keep reading.

  • The Simpsons: A sign at the Springfield graveyard can't resist the pie pun, but cleverly adds its other meaning, saying "Come for the funeral, stay for the Π."
  • Life of Pi: Yann Martel's main character in Life of Pi is not Pi, but Piscine; however, the character introduces himself at one point like this: "My name is Piscine Molitor Patel known to all as Pi Patel. For good measure I added ¼ = 3:14 and I then drew a large circle which I sliced in two with a diameter, to evoke that basic lesson of geometry."
  • Twin Peaks: A show about mystery itself, it's no surprise creator David Lynch worked pi into the show — right down to solver-of-mysteries FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper being obsessed with eating pie.

Most references are subtle but pop up if you're looking for them. It's the secret code in Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain, and the 1998 film Π and Kate Bush's "Pi" have been named after it.

Can you think of any I missed?

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
Zoe Saldana's The Edit Interview July 2016
My 1992 Diary Book Excerpt
List of Math Movies
Hacksaw Ridge Trailer
Kids Talking About TV Shows
Maryam Mirzakhani First Female Winner of Math Fields Medal

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Love