Pi Anyone? International Pi Day

The 14th of March is International Day of Mathematics and International Pi Day.

What is International Mathematics Day?

On the 26th of November 2019 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) decided March the 14th should be declared the International Day of Mathematics.

The main purpose of the day was to celebrate and highlight the importance of Mathematics. Making people aware mathematics is everywhere and used in everyday life, as well as in specialist industries.

Prior to the birth of International Mathematics Day, the 14th of March was International Pi Day.

What is Pi π day?

The Greek symbol π Pi was first used by the Welsh mathematician William Jones (image to right) to represent the following mathematical constant:

“the quantity which when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference”.

Prior to the use of π as a shorthand representation for the above statement.

Textbooks and people in conversation would recite the statement in its entirety, which often became cumbersome. So it was, William Jones’s idea was adopted and popularised by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler.

Why 14th March for Pi & International Mathematics Day?

Pi π day was first celebrated in 1988 by the Physicist Larry Shaw, at San Francisco’s Exploratorium science museum, and as some of you may have already guessed, the day selected was a play on the first 3 numbers of Pi which are 3.14.

As there was already a day in the calendar celebrating a mathematics-related topic, UNESCO decided Pi day should be expanded to include the celebration of the entire spectrum of mathematics, giving birth to International Mathematics Day.

Just for fun

Can you think of times when you would use mathematics? perhaps leave a comment on two examples that are different to any previously left. Or leave a fun fact about Pi.

I’ll start:

Two examples of using maths:

  • When finding and shelving books in a library (Dewey Decimal System)
  • When booking and finding my seat in the Cinema or Theatre.

Fun fact about Pi:

The value of Pi has been memorised to 70,000 places by Rajveer Meena at the VIT University, Vellore, India, on 21 March 2015. It took him almost 10hrs to recite the numbers whilst wearing a blindfold.

By Mo Almas

Access some of our many resources on mathematics using our library catalogue: Librarysearch

Read more informative articles on the Blog such as The history of the commonwealth games in Edinburgh.

Image Source can be found here