Piece of Pi

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Free pie and math. Yeah?

Ed Kapp
News Writer

To celebrate Pi Day, as the Math, Actuary, Statistics Student Society refers to March 14, MASS gave away five dozen baked pies before an afternoon of pi-related activities in the Research and Innovation Center’s Atrium.

Although many may have never heard of the holiday, Pi Day has been celebrated for more than two decades. Held on March 14 – as in 3/14, representing 3.14, pi shortened to two decimal places – Pi Day was first celebrated by Larry Shaw, a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1989.

Twenty-two years later, Pi Day is still going strong, so much so that many schools around the world mark the occasion with celebrations, as was the case with MASS’ recent Pi Day festivities.

Starting at 11:30 in the morning, volunteers from MASS began handing out free pieces of pie to passers-by. Following numerous waves of hungry students, three guest speakers – Ruhi Ahmadi, Dr. Shahla Nasserasr, and Dr. Ed Doolittle – gave brief lectures on the concept of pi. After the lectures, Michael Sherar and Dr. Bret Stevens debated the merits of both pi and the golden ratio in front of the over two dozen students in attendance.

To many students free pie on a Monday morning was reason enough to celebrate but, for many of the university’s self-proclaimed “math nerds”, Pi Day serves a greater purpose –  a celebration of mathematics and an opportunity to share their fervor with other University of Regina students.

“It’s March 14; our date, 3.14. It’s a good day to celebrate being a math nerd … Pi has existed since anything has existed, and today is a great day to celebrate it,” explained MASS president Christine Sellinger before the event began.

“It’s a fun celebration of math,” offered Jarrod Smith, a fourth-year mathematics student at the university. “The usual stigma of math is that it’s old men sitting in dark rooms, and this is a fun thing. We get to celebrate being math nerds.”

While many of the aforementioned “math nerds” find good enough reason to celebrate Pi Day based on its implications in the realm of mathematics, 60 complimentary pies gave even the university’s staunchest opponents of the subject reason to celebrate.

Although it is clear, as evidenced by the pies consumed to attendance ratio, that many students at the U of R may not share the same enthusiasm for mathematics as the guest speakers and pie-serving volunteers, their attempts to share their appreciation through both presentations and free food was not lost on many in attendance.

Ara Steininger, program director for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, noted that feedback for the university’s second annual Pi Day festivities has been very positive.

“The feedback that I have received is very positive except that we ran out of pie – but it goes so fast!  I overheard one individual talking about one of the lectures; he really enjoyed it even though he has no math background himself.”

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