13
MAR
2019

Riding High from Pi Day Princeton!

Hey, Pi People!

Hope you’re all geared up for a great Pi Day 2019! As for me, my Pi Day celebration started nice and early. I was a special guest at what I would consider to be one of the two biggest Pi Day celebrations on the planet: Pi Day Princeton! (I was lucky enough to visit the other one last year.)

The lovely and historic town of Princeton, New Jersey has, for more than a decade now, put on quite the Pi Day party.  A fellow you may have heard of named Al Einstein spent the final 22 years of his life here, and oh, by the way, he was born on March 14.  So, in a beautiful fusion of math and science (and history) excitement, Princeton has perfected the art of celebrating Pi and Einstein at once!

I can’t say enough about how much fun I had on March 9 (they hold the festivities on the Saturday prior to 3/14, for max access to fun).  My day began with a no-hands, pie-eating contest (I did participate but was blown away by some local pros with vacuum-like pie consumption skills).

We then threw a surprise birthday party for ol’ Albert, who looks pretty good for 140, and followed that with a kids’ Einstein costume contest that I got to help judge.  Little 4-year-old Eleanor was the most adorable Einstein you could ever imagine (if there is such a thing!), and she won the prize of an oversized check for $314.15 and the lifelong privilege of joining the panel of judges.

I then got to judge a far more serious event – the Pi digit recitation contest.  My fellow judges included the first person ever to memorize more than 10,000 digits, and the current North American record holder at 15,314 digits!  My puny 250 digits paled in comparison to these two titans, but we made a solid judging bench.  (Oh yeah, a legit Einstein impersonator/expert was the fourth judge, just for good measure!)

The contest was won in dramatic fashion by 12-year-old Kanayo, who paced in a figure-8 as he recited – wait for it – 1,171 digits!  (Don’t forget to share your students’ memory feats.)  And he told me afterward that he actually knows upwards of 3,000 digits – amazing!  He was honored with a surprise appearance and rap performance by Pi Diddy.

The afternoon continued with a parade around the town square, an apple pie bake-off contest, and a pub crawl for the grown-ups to reflect on the nonstop Pi/Einstein bonanza that was.

If you live anywhere remotely near Princeton, NJ, I would highly recommend you catch the festivities next year!  Just mark that Saturday before 3/14 on your calendar.

Well, if your real Pi Day is half as much fun as my pre-Pi Day was, then you’re in for a great one!

Your Pi pal,

Luke

Luke Anderson is the founder and proprietor of TeachPi.org. Luke has been a Pi Day presenter to K-12, college, and adult audiences around the country for more than 15 years, and is a frequent contributor to Pi-related stories in the media.

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