American $\pi$

As you may know, I was born and raised in Venezuela. I came to the U.S. a bit over 10 years ago to go to graduate school. It’s only been since then that I have been around for and a part of $\pi$ Day celebrations. This makes sense, since in Venezuela (and most other countries) dates are written in the day/month/year format, rather than the (slightly less natural) month/day/year format. Today, 3/14, is widely known around U.S. schools and universities as $\pi$ day. The only equivalent in Venezuela would be the 31st of April (yeah, there isn’t one).

Even though it seemed like a silly thing to celebrate at first, I have learned to embrace the holiday as one more reason to talk about math (we can’t have too many of those). I like that schools celebrate this by hosting social events, eating pie, and having informal math competitions. I have been seeing $\pi$ day posts on facebook (both for and against) and lots of $\pi$ Day themed blogs, so I won’t add to the already copious pile of things you might run into. I will instead share a couple of photos of my history with $\pi$, and wish you all a day filled with math and pie (what more could anyone want?).


If I may say so myself, I do make a good pumpkin $\pi$, although not the kind that you bake. (Picture courtesy of Anneliese Gerland).




picookiesLast year I did bake some cookies for our $\pi$ day social at Bates. They came out looking great (as seen on the left) but tasted awful, so in the end I didn’t share them. So again, it seems like my talents are more artistic than culinary.





I went to Sage Days: Women in Sage last year in July. We were staying in a cabin outside Seattle, and on our free afternoon went for a hike. Of course a bunch of women mathematicians would spot the $\pi$ shaped root on our hiking path.

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2 Responses to American $\pi$

  1. Brie Finegold says:

    All those non-Americans can go ahead and celebrate July 22nd (22/7)…
    That root is pretty darn cool by the way 🙂

  2. Michelle says:

    I’m giving a test on pi day and didn’t even bring pie. Because I am the meanest teacher ever. I am, however, wearing a hockey jersey with my name and the number pi. So that’s something.

    And the anti-pi day people are just grouches. An excuse to be silly, eat pie, and talk math? Bring it!

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