We all now have our stories of where we were, who we were with, and what kind of pie we were chewing at the Big Moment last year: 3/14/15, 9:26:53. Nothing will ever quite match the grandeur of that one. Where was I? I was in a room of 500 math majors and professors in Los Angeles, and we were listening to a delightful Pi-themed lecture (my talk came later that day). The speaker wanted us to interrupt him as the moment was approaching, and I was keeping a close eye on the site Time.Is on my phone, which lit up each successive digit as they ticked into place. I started the group chant, “10, 9, 8, 7, …”, and then it struck. Boom. An unforgettable moment indeed!
(Oh, and the evening before, things were already getting pretty festive in my world. On my way to the airport, I happened to hear a clip of Pi Diddy’s rap played on NPR’s All Things Considered, and my “Pi Day of the Century” t-shirt led to a couple of folks taking what had to be the world’s math-geekiest “celebrity selfie” with me in the airport security line! Kind of surreal.)
But that was SO 2015. The year when anyone and everyone noticed and followed along. Now we’re back to the core club of Pi Day fans. You know who you are. The ones who might get a bit excited that it’s Rounded Pi Day (3.14.16), but who don’t even need that kind of extra flair to get fired up about March 14. So, let’s jump right in to Pi Day ’16.
What am I up to? This year, Pi Day once again falls on a school day, and I’ll be presenting about the history and mystery of Pi to several groups of 8th and 9th graders in the Denver, Colorado area. I’ve also written an article in defense of Pi Day for the current issue of Math Horizons Magazine, a publication of the Mathematical Association of America, in an issue with lots of other great Pi-related articles. (Read about the issue here; unfortunately, the content isn’t freely available online.) Yes, someone actually wrote an anti-Pi Day article that I was asked to counter for the magazine. Who could be against a day that helps so many kids get so excited about math? I don’t think I need to convince you of this, given that you’re, um, presently reading a blog on a pi website. Enough said!
What are you up to? Now that we’re rolling into a fresh school week of Pi Days (2016-2019), I’m eager to hear more about the activities you’re doing with your students, how many digits they’re memorizing, and what kinds of pi tunes you’re rocking out to in class or in your spare time. Post a comment here, or drop me a line!
By the way, if you ever needed help arguing for using precious class time, and brain bandwidth, to encourage your students or classmates to memorize digits of pi, check out this new story here on TeachPi.org. Science to the rescue!
Rounded off or not,