Math Department celebrates Pi Day

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Hundreds of BYU students gathered at Brigham Square to celebrate Pi Day with different activities such as throwing a pie at a professor, basketball and Frisbee on March 14, 2014.

Every March 14 many mathematicians in the United States celebrate Pi Day because 3.14 are the first digits of the mathematical term “pi.” At BYU, the Mathematics Department throws a celebration every year with many different activities, including a pie-eating contest; games called “Pi Recitation” (people recite as many digits of pi as possible from memory), “Pie the Professor,” “Piball” (basketball); and throwing a Frisbee at a pi symbol.

Annie Tyler, who works for the Math Department, said the most popular activities are “Pie the Professor” and “Piball.” She also said this celebration is an opportunity for non-math majors to see that math can be fun and that mathematicians can be fun people.

“It’s a chance for mathematicians and non-mathematicians to have fun with math and play games,” Tyler said.

They gave free prizes such as sweatbands and water bottles for participants, and it all finished with a countdown for 1:59, which are the next three digits of pi.

Karie Powell volunteered at the event although she is a pre-business major.

“I am taking Math 118 because it is a prerequisite for my major, and my teacher said I could volunteer,” Powell said. “I am here because it is a very cool activity, and I always like to be aware of everything going on campus.”

Pi Day t-shirts were sold at the event and in the Talmage Building lobby, along with other BYU math t-shirts. For the first time they also sold toddler t-shirts and onesies in pi-related styles.

According to the Guinness World Records website, the person who has the current record for reciting the most number of digits is a Chinese called Chao Lu. He recited 67,890 places in more than 24 hours in 2005. The pi number has infinite digits.

At BYU, the previous record of 988 set last year by Clark Anderson was broken by Anderson himself. He recited 2,448 digits and got a gift-card, a t-shirt and other math-related prices.

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