Pi Day was again celebrated in style this year with the date 3/14/16 representing the famous number rounded to 5 significant figures (or 4 decimal places if you see the point). This year, therefore, was Rounded Pi Day but if you missed it, it will be repeated all over again in 100 years.
To celebrate this monumental numerical alignment, the Somerset Mathematical Society, known symbolically and symmetrically as the ΣMΣ met in the Performing Arts Theatre to enjoy an evening of Maths. The motto of the ΣMΣ is to 'encourage, enlighten and entertain' … and the members certainly lived up to their maxim. Somewhere between 31.4 and 314 Pi enthusiasts joined the ΣMΣ members in the Performing Arts Theatre to celebrate this remarkable ratio, which ironically cannot be written as a fraction. It’s completely irrational!
The ΣMΣ Pi celebration was hosted by the SMS captains Bianca Zhang, Lauren McNamara, Harrison Small,Eliza Wright-Smith. Lachlan Ray and Yuvi Chauhan in Year 5 told us all about Pi before Mr Wrigley recounted its (mathematical) Life. Did you know that Pi appears in the official badge of the RAF’s 22nd squadron? This acknowledges the Squadron's service in France during the 1st World War with the 7th Wing. The pilots would take off over the Wing's headquarters at which point you'd see '22 over 7' – a good approximation for Pi.
Harrison Small and Kenta Arichi explored the Monty Hall problem before explaining an ancient paradox that involved infinity. Sofia Smith and Anna Hori then recounted the life and work of Ada Lovelace born over 200 years ago but widely regarded as the first ever computer programmer. Marina Hou and Duncan Hossy went on and on about fractals which, of course, go on and on. Lauren McNamara and Eliza Wright-Smith then led the whole audience through some mathematical moves with ‘Graph Dancing’ that would surely put the Pi in Pilates and the y in yoga.
The highlight of the evening was the ever popular Pi reciting exhibition with some impressive performances from a range of ages. Congratulations go to the following Pi reciters:
- 25 digits: Yuvi Chauhan, David Hambly (alumnus), Harrison Small, Lachlan Ray, Phoenix Chapman (30)
- 50 digits:Thomas Gray, Jenny Liu, Sarah Norton, Jennifer Yeung (60)
- 100 digits: Callum Moffat
Callum Moffat then had enough breath left to provide a musical interlude playing 'Amazing Grace’ brilliantly on his bagPipes before Catherine Gerrard and Elizabeth Kay summed up the evening with their own ‘Video killed the Radio Star’ rendition to the sweet sounds of ‘American Pie’. Mathonyms were again available for those who like to see their name in Maths and in the aftermath, refreshments were served to an audience who were still hungry for more pie.
My thanks go to Ms Mills, Mr Brodar, Mr Grocott and Mr Turner together with Ms Robertson and the events team 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 2000 years ago and whose last words before being slain by a Roman soldier were 'Do not disturb my circles'.
Stay tuned for the next ΣMΣ public event which 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 in August.
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