How communicators can celebrate ‘Pi Day’

Just because you love words doesn’t mean you have avoid numbers. Share your knowledge of these terms to honor the mathematical holiday.

Pi Day—an annual celebration of the mathematical constant Pi—is observed on March 14.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. For any size circle, divide the circumference by the diameter and you always get same number: 3.14 (with many subsequent digits).

Pi day not only offers us a great excuse to eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also a way to combat one of the most annoying generalizations about PR professionals: PR pros (and writers and editors) are bad at math.

I wouldn’t say word nerds are bad at math; maybe it’s that they don’t like math.

Yet, it’s still important to be math literate. PR pros should be able to do more than just nod and smile politely when someone talks about compound interest or exponential growth.

So, on March 14, show up to the office with the best pie you can get your hands on, and impress your colleagues with your knowledge of these math terms.

(Definitions from and

Accuracy how close a measured value is to the actual value

Precision how close measured values are to each other

Area the amount of space inside a two-dimensional object such as a triangle or circle

Circumference the distance around a circle

Diameter a line passing through the center of a circle that connects two points on the circumference

Perimeter the distance around a two-dimensional shape

Radius the distance from the center to the edge of a circle

Pi — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter

Cardinal number numbers that indicate quantity, such as “one, two, three…”

Ordinal number words that indicate order, such as “first, second, third…”

Simple interest interest that is computed from only the original balance no matter how much money has accrued so far

Compound interest interest that is earned on the original balance and the interest already accrued

Average a central value of a set of numbers, calculated by adding up all the numbers and dividing by how many numbers there are

Mode a number that occurs most often in a list. 5 is the mode of 1,2,3,5,4,3,5,5

Median the middle number in a series of numbers arranged in order of size; 88 is the median of 72, 75, 88, 90, 97

Range (statistics) in a series of numbers, the difference between the lowest and highest values.

Normal distribution when data is distributed in a “bell curve

Standard deviation the measure of how far data is from the mean. The more spread apart the data, the higher the deviation

Exponential growth —a model of growth in which the rate of growth is proportionate to the amount present. This model is used for inflation and population growth

Logistic growth —a model for a quantity that increases quickly at first and then slows as it approaches an upper limit. This model is used to describe increasing use of a new technology, spread of a disease, or saturation of a market

PR Daily readers, have any other math terms to add?

Laura Hale Brockway is a writer from Austin, Texas. Read more of her posts on writing, editing, and corporate life on PR Daily and at Impertinent Remarks.

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