Thursday, March 24, 2011

14 Holidays Every Math Major Should Know

Pi Day, e Day, Square Root Day, Odd Day (isn't that every day?), Powers of Ten Day, and 9 other Math Holidays. It's all here, baby!
DISCLAIMER: I did not write this but liked it enough to do my copy'n'paste thing (my specialty!) and put it on my weblog. Plus, I'm a sucker for lists! I got it from a random e-mail in my Inbox from one Jasmine Hall, here.
At first I thought it was spam and it may very well end up being so, and unless and/or until I explore Jasmine's website I wish to express that I am not endorsing this school nor am I saying you should not explore it. I assume my readership is intelligent to make up their own minds one way or another.

In any event, the mini-essay is good Marketing (another specialty), and as said I enjoyed it so here it is:

14 Holidays Every Math Major Must Know

Math, however unfairly, has a reputation for being a bit dull. Yet math nerds know that the subject can be just as fascinating and fun as any other college major out there. Of course, convincing others who aren’t mathematically inclined of this fact can be difficult. Luckily, there are some fun holidays out there that can get even the most resistant of individuals to enjoy celebrating some of the fundamentals of mathematics. Here are just a few of the ones well worth celebrating.
  1. Pi DayCelebrated on March the 14th in the US, this holiday recognizes the mathematical constant of Pi, which is often abbreviated to 3.14– hence the date of the holiday. Math geeks can celebrate by enjoying the wonders of Pi through math, watching the movie Pi, eating actual pie or some Pi-inspired art.
  2. Square Root DayThe date of Square Root Day changes depending on the year. For instance, square root day could be 3/3/09 or 4/4/16, meaning this holiday only comes around once in a great while, so you should party it up while you can. Some ideas for enjoying square root day include cooking up some delicious root veggies, square dancing or anything else punny involving squares or roots.
  3. Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics DaysWomen in math will love this event. Mostly celebrated at middle and high schools, this holiday isn’t set on a fixed date, but usually takes place in the spring. It is meant to encourage young women to pursue a career in a math or science field, inspired by Sonia Kovalevsky, an important Russian mathematician. Math geeks can attend lectures on this day or participate in workshops.
  4. e DayWhile not as well-known as Pi, e is also an irrational number that occurs naturally in the grand scheme of mathematics. Discovered by a number of mathematicians, it’s useful in helping puzzle out exponential and logarithmic functions. The rough numerical equivalent of e is 2.7, making the logical day to celebrate it February 7th. As to how you celebrate e Day, well, that’s up to you. You can only eat foods that start with e, read the poetry of ee cummings, watch the E! Network or just do some fun math related to e.
  5. Math 2.0 DayUse this holiday to celebrate the intersection of math and technology. Only July 8th, spend your day using math programs, attending tech lectures and appreciating the subject on the web.
  6. Pi Approximation DaySome prefer to celebrate Pi not on the decimal equivalent to Pi, but instead on the fraction that represents it: 22/7. Twenty two divided by seven gives you the approximate value of Pi, hence the name of the holiday. Celebrations of this day are pretty much the same as those on 3/14, so why not celebrate twice a year with twice the pie?
  7. Odd DayOdd day is a day that singles out those wonderful, wacky odd numbers. It occurs when three consecutive odd numbers make up a date– something that happens only six times a century. The last Odd Day was 5/7/09 and the next will be on 7/9/11. Enjoy Odd Day by, well, being odd.
  8. Powers of Ten DayThis holiday is all about seeing the world in a different light, though different magnitudes of 10 to be more precise. It was celebrated on 10/10/10 and isn’t due to come around again for quite some time, so if you missed your chance to celebrate in 2010, you likely won’t live to see this holiday come round again.
  9. World Maths DayThis is the day when math finally gets its due. Celebrated internationally on March 1st, the holiday recognizes all things mathematical, focusing special attention on getting kids enthused about a career in math or doing equations. You can celebrate World Maths (or Math if you’re not a fan of the British spelling) Day any way you like, so long as it involves the subject.
  10. Mole DayKnow the math behind chemistry? Then you’ve likely heard of Avagadro’s number (6.02×10^23) that’s used as a basic unit of measure in chemistry, more commonly referred to as a Mole. It’s observed on October 23rd from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm, and can include enjoying anything mole related from mole sauce to Whack-a-Mole. The punnier, the better.
  11. Pythagorean Theorem Day: Pythagoras’ theorem states that the length of sides of a right triangle will always fit the equation a squared + b squared = c squared. Thus, this holiday is celebrated on dates which meet this criteria. For example, 6/8/10 would be one such date. Enjoy this holiday by playing the triangle, doing some geometry and eating Greek food.
  12. Math Storytelling DayOn Math Storytelling Day, those who love math can have fun making up and sharing math-related stories. They can involve puzzles, logic, human relationships, just about anything so long as there’s math in there somewhere. This holiday is observed on September 25th and can be a lot of fun for kids and adults alike.
  13. Celebration of MindHeld in honor or Martin Gardner’s birthday, this holiday held on October 21st encourages a fun and playful approach to mathematics and logic puzzles. Celebrants can mark the day by doing fun math puzzles, performing magic tricks, or even sharing math stories.
  14. Fibonacci DayIf you’re a math nerd, you’ve more than likely heard of Fibonacci’s sequence. This sequence, made famous by the Italian mathematician, creates a spiral and begins with the numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, so the holiday is celebrated on November 23rd of each year. There are no set guidelines for celebration, so those who want to mark the occasion can do anything from delve into the sequence to enjoy Italian food.

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