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Presidents Message - March 2015

By Dr. Maureen Hunter

Happy Pi Day, everyone!

Have a slice of fun on 3/14/15/92653...

DON’T MISS PI DAY THIS YEAR. On Saturday 3/14/15 at 9:26 a.m. and 53 seconds, I plan on eating a big piece of my favorite pie. Actually I’m planning on celebrating all day with family and friends—eating, drinking, calculating, competing and discussing everything p.

You’ve never celebrated Pi Day before? That figures ?. As a self-proclaimed nerd, I’m grateful that somehow other nerds earned for us our very own day. And on this p centennial year, I’m encouraging the non-nerd populace to join in the fun and spend March 14 geeking out.

In case you want to put on a similar geekbash full of friendly competition such as best p T-shirt, best p scientist look-alike, best p pie decoration and longest decimal place recitation, here are some ideas.

Decorate with everything p. The internet is full of p decorations—plates, cups, banners, balloons, furniture, etc. You name it.

Wear p T-shirts. Encourage all participants to wear their favorite p T-shirt. Many science museums sell them, you can buy them online or make your own. My favorites are mmm…p; p—Irrational but well-rounded; and ?of p.

Dress like your favorite p scientist. Suggestions include Archimedes, Leonhard Euler, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, whose birthday just happens to be March 14. They’re all great-looking characters.

Calculate p (for kids). Arm your little Sir Cumferences and Lady Di of Ameters with rulers, string, pencils, paper and calculators and set them loose to measure the circumference and diameter of all things circular. Remember that p is the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter.

Decorate pies. Decorate pies with p symbols and equations. Use pizza pie, chicken pot pie, apple pie or any pie you like. Then eat the pies, of course. On March 14 you can have your p and eat it too. We’ve used things like A = pr2, V = pr2h, p ˜ 22/7 or better yet p ˜ 355/113. You can also decorate using beautiful nested fractions and sine waves, but they’re too showy to print here.

Serve p-napples. Both juice and circular slices work well.

Hold a p recitation contest. You’d be shocked how many digits some people will memorize. Of course, I think they learn it from watching music videos.

Watch p videos. There are many amusing videos that showcase the musical side of p. A favorite is “Lose Yourself in the Digits by Pi Diddy.” It’s based on Eminem’s rap song “Lose Yourself,” and it’s about the agony and thrill of getting up in front of others and trying to recite the digits of p.

Play p lottery. p is an irrational and transcendental number that continues infinitely without repetition or pattern. It has been calculated to more than one trillion digits. Because it goes on forever, you can find pretty much any sequence of numbers in p. Have fun by going to a “pi-search” Website and typing a number sequence representing anything “you” such as your birth date, phone number, Social Security number or anything else. See whose number appears first in the indefinite sequence. (My phone number first occurs at position 21,381,372 and occurs 22 more times in the first 200 million digits of p.)

Play the p mirror game (for young kids). Hold 3.14 up to a mirror and let the kids discover it spells P.IE.

Sing p songs. End your Pi Day party with singing a p song. There are several on the Internet or make up your own. A party favorite is “Pi, Pi, 3.1415” sung to the tune of Don McLean’s oldie but goodie, American Pie.

Have fun and be creative. Use these or create your own ideas. Most of all, have fun. And don’t forget to hand out the contest awards, p themed of course.

Like the mathematical constant itself, the number of fun reasons to celebrate Pi Day is infinite. I hope you’ll take some time to celebrate this very important number on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Happy Pi Day, everyone!

 

Maureen Hunter is the technical service manager for King Industries, Inc. in Norwalk, Conn.
You can reach him at mhunter
@kingindustries.com.

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