A Pi Day to Remember

On March 14, BYU students were welcomed by a record-breaking sunny day to enjoy this year’s Pi Day festivities—the biggest BYU Pi Day celebration to date!
Activities were bigger and better than ever this year, and students didn’t hesitate to notice.  Over the course of just a couple of hours, thousands of students streamed past the various activities and participated in the fun.  Usual favorites such as Pi Sudoku, Pi Frisbee, Pi Basketball, and Buffon’s Needle attracted crowds as always.  Students cheered and clapped as they watched their professors get messy at the Pi-the-Professor booth.  Others got messy themselves during the Pie-Eating Contest.
The most popular and exciting attraction of the day was a human orbitron, sponsored by Qualtrics.  The human orbitron is a device in which a person is strapped in the center of three rotating circles (see below).  Dozens of students lined up to be able to experience this fun ride usually reserved for pilot and astronaut training.
High temperatures weren’t the only records to be broken on Pi Day 2013.  Clark Anderson, a junior from Wisconsin, broke the Pi-recitation record by reciting exactly 989 digits of pi from memory.
“I just memorized pi last summer and so I wanted to come here and break the record,” said Anderson. “I assigned each two digit number a person, an action, and an object. And then I created a story in my head so instead of numbers I’m memorizing this story and then I convert it back into numbers.”
If the day wasn’t exciting enough, the Math Department gifted free t-shirts to anyone with a Pi Day birthday. One student even won a t-shirt for having the word “pi” in his name (Pierce).  All in all, spirits were high as students and faculty celebrated pi and all of the mathematics behind it.  The festivities concluded with a countdown to 1:59, in order to complete pi’s digits of 3.14159.
Pi Day 2013 was a great success and the planning for next year’s celebration is underway! To view pictures of the event, visit the department’sFacebook page.