Super Safi’s Monday Morning Math Mayhem 10 – 3.1415926535897932384626433…

Morning Mathematical Monsters & Maniacs!

(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)


Hi, I’m Super Safi and you may remember me from such stats and strategy posts as Kwik-E-Mart Farming and the advanced losing-to-win Superheroes battle strategy.

Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing mathematical journey involving fractions, probability, Fermat’s last theorem, and hundreds of other aspects from the wonderful world off mathematics.

And what better way to start your week, then by discussing math Monday morning?

In a few days (3/14), the world will commemorate Pi Day. And in honour of Pi Day, this week we’re going to look at occurrences of Pi in The Simpsons. This post was also scheduled for 3:14pm UTC in honour of Pi (still morning in Toronto though).



In mathematics, Pi is a mathematical constant (definable) and irrational number (a number that does not terminate, nor does it repeat). Since the mid-18th century, Pi is also expressed by the Greek symbol π. It was Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler (who we discussed in Math Mayhem 04) who first published π in 1736. Prior to this, it was better known as Archimedes’ constant, after the 3rd century BC Greek mathematician (Archimedes pictured below).

Even before Archimedes, π was approximated over 3,000 years ago by ancient Egyptian (≈3.1605), Babylonian (≈3.125), and Indian (≈3.139) civilizations. However, it was Archimedes who was the first to create an algorithm to calculate π. He used a geometrical approach to calculate π that was used for over 1,000 years. Archimedes computed upper and lower bounds of π by drawing a regular hexagon inside and outside a circle, and successively doubling the number of sides until he reached a 96-sided regular polygon. By calculating the perimeters of these polygons, he determined π was between 3.1408 and 3.1429. By 1630, Archimedes geometric approach using hexagons allowed π to be calculated to 39 decimals.

The calculation of π was revolutionized by the development of infinite series techniques as long as 500 years ago. The discovery of calculus, by English scientist Isaac Newton and German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the 1660s, further led to the development of many infinite series for approximating π.

With the advent of the computer in the mid-20th century, the calculations of π jumped leaps and bounds from 1,120 decimal places in 1949 to 7,480 decimal places in 1957 to 10,000 decimal places in 1958 to 100,000 decimal places in 1961; until 1 million decimal places were reached in 1973.

π was originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference (C) to its diameter (d):

π = C/d.

Regardless of the size of the circle, the circumference is always 3.1415926535897932384626433… times bigger than the diameter.

Because π is closely related to the circle, it is found in many formulae from the fields of geometry and trigonometry. Other branches of science, such as statistics, physics, Fourier analysis, and number theory, also include π in some of their important formulae. Some notable formulae involving π include:

The circumference of a circle with radius r is   2πr.
The area of a circle with radius r is   πr2.
The volume of a sphere with radius r is   (4/3)πr3.
The surface area of a sphere with radius r is   4πr2.


π has made numerous appearances on The Simpsons over the years. Here are some notable appearances:


In Season 4, Episode 24 Marge in Chains, Marge gets busted for accidentally shoplifting at the Kwik-E-Mart. During the subsequent trial, when being questioned by Lionel Hutz, we get the following line:

Apu: “In fact I can recite pi to 40,000 places. The last digit is one!

Homer: “Mmm, pi(e).

For those curious, the 40,000th decimal place of π is indeed a 1. However, reciting to 40,000 decimal places isn’t that impressive. The record for memorizing digits of π, certified by Guinness World Records, is 70,000 decimal places, recited in India by Rajveer Meena in 9 hours and 27 minutes on March 21st, 2015.


In Season 9, Episode 3 Lisa’s Sax, the family recounts the story of how Lisa got her instrument during the terrible heat wave of 1990. During the episode, two girls at a gifted school play patty-cake while chanting the digits of π: “Cross my heart and hope to die / Here’s the digits that make pi / 3.1415926535897932384….


In Season 12, Episode 16 Bye Bye Nerdie, Lisa’s attempts to befriend Francine, a new student at Springfield Elementary, result in constant bullying. This leads her on a crusade to find out just what makes bullies “tick.” Lisa takes her findings to the ’12th annual big science thing’ where she reveals the cause of why bullies beat up nerds. Prof. Frink addresses fellow scientists at the conference.

Prof. Frink: “Scientists … Scientists, please! I’m looking for some order. Some order, please, with the eyes forward and the hands neatly folded and the paying of attention. Pi is exactly three!

[crowd gasps]

Prof. Frink: “Very sorry that it had to come to that, but now that I have your attention, we have some exciting new research from young Lisa Simpson. Let’s bring her out and pay attention.


The most memorable appearance may be in Season 15, episode 19 Simple Simpson, when Homer becomes a masked superhero known as the “The Pie Man”. He uses pies in order to battle crime in Springfield.

Homer, disguised as Pie Man, throws a pie at Rich Texan, to which Drederick Tatum states “We all know “pi r squared,” but today, “pie are justice.” I welcome it.

In the same episode, Kent Brockman reporting states: “Pi! Popular pastry, tricky math thing, and now sword of righteousness. A masked avenger has been giving Springfield’s scoundrels their [chuckle] just desserts.


In Season 26, Episode 22 Mathlete’s Feat, The Springfield Elementary School Math team wears shirts that highlight the irrational nature of π by stating π cannot be expressed as a fraction.

The episode also features a mathematical joke:


Now we know more about one of the most famous constant and irrational number in mathematics. Pi Day often comes with specials at bakeries and pizzerias on pies and pizzas, usually on sale for $3.14. Will you be commemorating Pi Day? Were you familiar with π? How many digits of π do you have memorized? Did you notice π in these episodes? Were you able to solve the joke in the last screenshot? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.

29 responses to “Super Safi’s Monday Morning Math Mayhem 10 – 3.1415926535897932384626433…

  1. 3.14159265359 (rounded) is the farthest I memorized. I remember doing the pi proof in calculus class.
    I forgot about the “pi is exactly 3” joke. That’s probably my favorite.

    • I used that joke on Addicts Live this past Saturday. At the very end, before sign off, for closing comments, I said Pi is exactly 3.

  2. Tracy-1ltwoody920

    Can’t figure all the math joke.
    The last part if
    Ate a whole pie
    8 Sumation Pi

    It is the square root of a negative number that is throwing me.
    Nothing Squared yields a negative.

    Off to research!

    • Tracy-1ltwoody920

      I was thinking it was an imaginary number.
      And it is
      Which is expressed as ‘i’

  3. Tracy-1ltwoody920

    I worked in the water industry for many years. Among the certificates that I earned was a Treatment Operator. There were many math questions on the test and many involved find the area of a circle (actually a cylinder or sphere as most water tanks are ‘round’)
    In the SHOW YOUR WORK portion, the approved method was NOT
    Pi R Squared, rather it was
    0.785 D Squared
    Rebel that I am, I always did the former — why memorize another number?
    I mean, who multiplys by Diameter Squared?
    It is Radius Squared, using 22/7 for Pi

  4. FYI: FXX will be showing pi/pie related episodes on Thursday starting at 8 PM.

  5. I can remember π to 3.14159 b\c that’s as many spaces as the calculator I owned showed when I first learned all about π.
    As for spotting all the Simpsons references, i’m at about 70%.
    One of my friends had a horrible break-up on the most recent ‘true π day’ 3/14/15. Although she’s amazingly smart and nerdy, she’s no fun on π Day anymore, although understandably so.

  6. Sari, awesome info. @ least I can. brag to my know it all friends that I can memorize 5 digits of pi but I’m sure I’ll forget something! 😎 plus I have a massive headache . LMAO because because I probably won’t be able to start my car in the morning. I told my daughter to read this and we both agree it is very well written and educational. She is a walking encyclopedia of unusual factoids. Thanks really enjoyed this post. Luv lots. 💥

    • If you have trouble remembering, just remember the cheer from Third Rock from the Sun:

      Sine! Sine! Cosine! Sine!

  7. And now I want pie…doesn’t matter what kind, I like them all. Luckily we have an “All Things Pie” in our town. Mmmmmm🥧🥧🥧😍

  8. It’s a wonderful day for piiiiieeee…. oh sorry, wrong Sunday show.

  9. Thanks for this awesome post, Safi! I love it!
    Did you know that 3.14% of sailors are pi-rates?

  10. 3.14 for me. But I always laugh when I hear the line in Weird Al’s song white & nerdy, “Yo, I know pi to a thousand places”.

  11. The first six decimal digits of pi, expressed as an integer (ie, 314159), is a prime number.

  12. the farthest number I know in PI is 3.14…. but now I will be able to remember up to the 1… 3.141.. I learned something new and something old will be pushed out. Thank you Safi 🙂

  13. The last screenshot annoys my electrical engineer friends 🙂

    I could explain why, but there isn’t enough room in this comment box!

  14. *the US will celebrate, as it’ll be 14/03 for the rest of the world. Sadly there aren’t 14 months, so we’ll never have a Pi Day elsewhere

  15. Thank you Super Safi! I would have forgotten about the day without your reminder!

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