Somerset Times

Pi Night was ePic




Somerset Times Edition

Week 9,
Term One, 2017

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On Pi Day, 14 March (3/14) the annual celebration of π was hosted by the Somerset Mathematical Society (∑M∑) in the Pi-forming Arts Theatre. The motto of the ∑M∑ is “Encourage, Enlighten, Entertain” and they certainly lived up to their maxim on the night.

The Captains, Maya Hobley, Zara Smith and Callum Moffat, directed the evening which began with a clever maths trick by Maito Yamaguchi. Tatiana Leon’s presentation then answered the key questions; what is pi? ... and who invented pi? Brock Hudson told some mathematical jokes (Did you know that 3 out of 2 people do not understand fractions?), before teaming up with Kevin Song and Desmond Chuah and acting out a comedy routine with the key punch-lines being ... you guessed it ... pi.

Mr Wrigley then delivered a talk entitled the Life of Pi and was ably assisted by some white noise (provided by Matthew White) in delivering a poem on pi and how it relates to time.

"When the pendulum’s swinging quite free,
Then it’s always a marvel to me,
Each tick plus each tock,
Of the Grandfather clock,
Is 2 π√(l/g)"

Sarah Norton, Miku Adachi and Sofie Smith had the audience on their feet with some pi-lates which stretches both the mind and body. A whole range of graphs was displayed with the body as the y axis and the person’s arms representing the function. Mr Turner followed this with an interesting demonstration on the power of Geogebra and used it to generate sound signals. Combinations of the basic sine wave which has a period of 2π (radians) can generate any signal, even digital ones.

The whole audience then sang the praises of pi to the sounds (but not words) of Don McLean’s 1971 classic, “American Pie”. Some students were still singing it when they arrived for their Maths class the following morning!

The highlight of the evening was, undoubtedly, the pi reciting with some impressive regurgitation of the numbers, especially by Year 6. This part of the evening was very well organised by Michael Guy, Joshua Hamlin and Jack Luke-Paredi. Certificates were awarded to the following Pi reciters;

  • 25+ digits: James Guy, Mohnish Chand, Tatiana Leon, Phoenix Kyaw, Lachlan Ray, Yuvi Chauhan.
  • 50+ digits: Ava Mc Carthy, Hannah Provenzano, Herschel Aloysiers, Kei Naito.
  • 75+ digits: Jenna Miller, Megan Cattell, Ashlee Park.

The evening concluded in the aftermath with pie eating, although this was not actually a competitive event!

The next ΣMΣ public lecture will be held in August and will celebrate another important ratio, Phi (ϕ), known to some as the Golden Ratio. Phi, like pi, is also irrational so start learning those digits for the phi recital exhibition. It will be phi-nomenal.

My thanks go to Mrs White, Mr Turner, Mr Brodar, Mr Grocott, Mr Abdou, Dr Murphy, Mrs Lewis and Mr Bassingthwaighte for their support. Finally, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge Archimedes of Syracuse, who set the ball rolling in the search for a value of pi over 2,000 years ago, and whose last words before being slain by a Roman soldier were “Do not disturb my circles”.

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