Join the Texas A&M University Department of Mathematics for Pi Day of the Century this Saturday, March 14, in the John R. Blocker Building! Check out the event flyer here.


March 14 is a special day for mathematics aficionados like Texas A&M University professor Frank Sottile and graduate student Kaitlyn Phillipson. It's on that date every year that National Pi Day is celebrated around the country.

It's because pi (π), the mathematical constant that represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, rounds to 3.14. But 2015's Pi Day will be extra special. At exactly 9:26:53 a.m., pi enthusiasts will be able to write out the date as 3/14/15; 9:26:53 -- the first 10 unrounded digits of pi in perfect order -- an occurrence that won't happen again until 100 years from now in 2115.

To commemorate the momentous occasion here in Aggieland, Sottile and fellow mathematicians are throwing a Pi Day of the Century extravaganza. The celebration, organized by Sottile and Phillipson, will take place this Saturday (March 14) from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. on the second floor of the John R. Blocker Building. All events are free and open to the public.

"People tend to view mathematics as this abstract, intangible and fearful concept," Phillipson said. "My hope is that our Pi Day celebration will show that math can be fun, that it is relevant to real life and can even be hands-on."

The day will feature numerous pi-inspired activities, such as pi digit memorization and pi estimation contests suitable for all ages. Sottile also will present a lecture on Archimedes' theorem that pi = pi.

However, attendees whose interests don't tend to sway toward geometry needn't feel left out. An assortment of pie -- the more familiar crusty, sweet-filled and homonymous dessert, which happens to be National Pi Day's pasty of choice -- will be on hand. Guests are encouraged to dust off their best recipes and to bring their own pies for a judging contest. Prizes will be handed out to the winners of each contest.

The concept of pi has captivated scientists for centuries. It's an irrational number, meaning its digits continue indefinitely without repetition or pattern. To date, mathematicians have calculated pi to more than 12 trillion decimal places.

National Pi Day actually is an official U.S. holiday. Pi Day was first celebrated in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where a group of physicists and staff marched in circles and feasted on pie. The custom spread quickly and became quite popular at universities and institutions worldwide. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to recognize March 14 as National Pi Day.

Sottile says he has high hopes for the Pi Day of the Century and even turned down an invitation to speak NASA's Pi Day festivities in order to host a shindig for Texas A&M.

"People are going to have fun," he said. "They're going to get to enjoy some pi and also some pie."

And if you somehow miss that special Saturday morning moment when the date and time align to form the first 10 digits of pi, fear not: Saturday evening presents another opportunity at 9:26:53 p.m.

Event registration is encouraged but not required. Click here to register or learn more about the event.

For additional information about outreach activities in the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics, go to http://www.math.tamu.edu/outreach/programs/.

Click here to read a related feature story in the Houston Chronicle.


Contact: Chris Jarvis, (979) 845-7246 or cjarvis@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Frank Sottile, (979) 845-7554 or sottile@math.tamu.edu

Jarvis Chris

  • Frank Sottile

  • Kaitlyn Phillipson

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