Pie toss, math games, zombie talk — It’s Pi Day

by rcnewsblog on March 13, 2012

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A previous year’s Pi Day pie toss at Roanoke College

Want to learn how to survive an outbreak of zombiism? Ever had an urge to throw a pie at a professor? If so, you’re in luck.On Tuesday, Roanoke College’s chapter of the Mathematical Association of America has planned a day that will allow RC students to do all that and more.

The 5th Annual Pi Day, which is celebrated nationally on March 14, commemorates the never-ending number pi (3.14159265…and so on), which represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The first popular Pi Day Celebration was held in 1988 in San Francisco, and the event also coincides with Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Roanoke’s Pi Day begins at 8:30 a.m. on the back quad, with this year’s newest event: the Pi-athlon. All day until 5 p.m., teams of students can try their hand at games like Sudoku and Minesweeper, solving basic math problems and guessing which professor belongs to which odd fact.

Students also can attempt to recall as many digits of pi as they can (the current Guinness World Record is more than 67,000 digits). Teams earn points, and the team that is closest to 100 “Pi Points” (314.159– points) wins.

The Rev. Paul Henrickson gets a pie in his face on a previous Pi-Day.

Following the Pi-athlon, students can toss whipped cream pies in the traditional Pie the Professors event from 5 to 6 p.m. on the back quad. This year’s panel will feature RC professors as well as a few special guests. In previous years, students have been able to throw pies at the Rev. Paul Henrickson and even President Maxey. Students pay to enter the toss, and profits will go to the West End Center in Roanoke.

To finish off the day, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse mathematics professor, Dr. Robert Allen, will give a lecture called “Surviving an Outbreak of Zombiism.” He will use the popular zombie-outbreak theme as a model for his talk about how mathematics is important in addressing the transmission of infectious disease. The lecture is at 7 p.m. in Massengill Auditorium.

For more information on National Pi Day, visit www.piday.org.

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