(WASHINGTON) — The Hill has gone crazy for pi.
As every math geek knows, March 14 — 3/14 — is “Pi Day,” a celebration of 3.14, the approximate number used to calculate the area of a circle. And just like elementary school teachers nationwide, America’s lawmakers are pausing to honor the most obsessed-over number in the history of mathematics — and grab a bite of pie.
Sen. Robert Casey, D-Penn., used the fanciful holiday to promote STEM education:
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) March 14, 2014
In a less predictable policy tie-in, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, compared pi with the national debt. Unfortunately for Cruz, pi is what mathematicians call an “irrational” number — the decimals continue to infinity.
#HappyPiDay Hopefully there are still fewer digits in the national debt than in Pi when the debt limit suspension ends a year from tomorrow!
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 14, 2014
MIT grad Sen. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, who famously started a tech company from his dorm room, announced Friday that he chose his Cannon building office number as an ode to pi.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 14, 2014
Of course, for some congresspeople, the holiday is simply an excuse to carbo-load.
Getting ready to celebrate pi day with some homemade pies! pic.twitter.com/0lBVc2EXw2
— Bill Foster (@RepBillFoster) March 14, 2014
Excited to celebrate pi day in the office! pic.twitter.com/G5M0JWH9Iu
— Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) March 14, 2014
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) March 14, 2014
The history of pi isn’t without its political tie-ins.
In 1897, the Indiana General Assembly almost passed a bill that would have effectively changed the value of pi to 3.2. Luckily, a Purdue mathematician intervened and pi emerged unscathed.
And filibustering pols could take a lesson from China’s Chao Lu, the Guinness world record holder for pi recitation. Lu reportedly spent 24 hours and 4 minutes reciting — from memory — the first 67,890 digits of pi without a single bathroom break. That’s just 14 minutes shy of the longest congressional filibuster on record.
Even Healthcare.gov joined in the Pi Day fun with a tie-in of its own:
— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) March 14, 2014
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN