Celebrating Pi Day (not the steak and ale kind)

When Lower Fifth pupil Sabrina W asked maths teacher Mrs Lyons whether the School was celebrating Pi Day, it was soon an initiative taken up by the maths department and every year group across the School.

Originating from the USA where 14 March is transcribed as 3.14, sharing the same digits as "π", Pi Day is a much needed excuse to bring maths to the fore and celebrate not just the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, but the wonder of mathematics, numbers, memory and the way these concepts influence our lives.

In 2016 pi was calculated to 22.4 trillion digits and the world record for memorising pi currently stands at 70,030 digits. With this in mind, the Lower Fifth have been challenged to memorise the digits of pi and so far Annie H is the runaway winner, having memorised it to 280 decimal places.

The Maths Department has found that pi even occurs within film and TV, including an episode of The Simpsons, Star Trek and Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, not to mention novel’s such as Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

With an original approach, the VI form have investigated using pi to assign a number to each key on a keyboard to produce a melody. For other year groups there have been quizzes, challenges and a picture quiz to guess words and phrases using pi.

Not to be outdone, the catering team also put pi on the menu in the dining room to mark the occasion.

And to top it off there was the simple pleasure of icing an apple pie with the "π" symbol. The most mysterious and important number in maths was celebrated in style!

Posted: 15th Mar 2017

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