Pi Day 2016

Pi Day is here again

Once again Pi Day (March 14, or 3/14 in North American notation) is here, when both professional mathematicians and students in school celebrate this most famous of mathematical numbers. Last year was a particularly memorable Pi Day, since 3/14/15 gets two more digits correct, although some would argue that this year’s Pi Day is also memorable, since 3/14/16 is pi rounded to four digits after the decimal point (the actual value is 3.14159265358979323846…).

Numerous celebrations are scheduled for Pi Day 2016. San Francisco’s Exploratorium features several events, culminating with a “Pi Procession” at 1:59pm Pacific Time (corresponding to 3.14159) and pie served at 2:15pm. The Illinois Science Council is sponsoring a Pi Day Pi K Fun Run, starting 6:28pm (= 2 x Pi) at any of four different locations in Chicago. The website teachpi.org lists 50 ideas to make Pi Day “entertaining, educational, tasty and fun.”

Pizza Hut, in conjunction with the well-known mathematician John Conway of Princeton University, has announced that on March 14 it will release three mathematics problems on its Hut Life blog. The first person to submit correct solutions to one of the three problems will have a chance to receive 3.14 years of free pizza from Pizza Hut. The problems vary in difficulty from high school to Ph.D. level. For details, see press report.

In past years, the present authors have celebrated Pi Day with popular articles and more serious technical pieces. For Pi Day 2014, we presented several examples of “piems,” i.e., poems rhapsodizing on the wonders of pi. We also presented some examples of recent research using high-tech graphical tools to explore the intriguing question of whether and why the digits of pi are “normal” (i.e., its digits are statistically “random” in a particular sense).

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