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Sometimes when ordering pizza, there is an involved discussion about what size and how many to get, especially when different topping preferences are a factor.

Let’s face it, you either love or hate anchovies on pizza or there is the great vegetarian versus meat debate. The great news is Pi can come to the rescue, and the math does not have to be complicated.

The area of a circle is pi times radius squared . Pi is a constant, so we can factor it out. A 12” pizza has a diameter of 12” and so has a radius of 6”. 6 squared is 36. A 16” pizza has a radius of 8”. 8 squared is 64. This means that a 16” pizza is almost twice as much pizza as a 12” pizza. On the other hand, an 8” personal pizza is 16, less than ½ of the 12” pizza.

On this national pi day, I salute whoever discovered that pi is the constant when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter. The ancient Babylonians used pi and understood it was a constant but could only roughly estimate its actual value. Successive generations of mathematicians learned to extend the accuracy to increasingly greater decimal places. Those who tried included Newton, Archimedes, Leibniz, Euler, and Gregory. We will probably never learn the true value since the actual value appears to extend infinitely after the decimal point with no known pattern. But we will never stop trying.

Here is hoping that we all learn to enjoy math a little more and apply it successfully to solving life’s little challenges. And oh, I am glad you asked. I went for pepperoni and onions.