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3/13/2006
12:43 PM
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Math Nerds Prepare To Celebrate Pi Day

Pi Day Tuesday honors the infinite numerical challenge whose first three numbers--314--connote March 14.

Math aficionados, nerds, and proud math geeks at high tech operations all over the world are preparing to celebrate Pi Day Tuesday to honor the infinite numerical challenge whose first three numbers --314 -- connote March 14.

Although professional and amateur mathematicians venerate Pi, they can take a light-hearted approach to the Pi phenomenon Tuesday.

"Pie-eating contests are very big," said Howard Greenspan, spokesman for MathematiciansPictures.com, a Pi-oriented Web site. "For math nerds and aficionados, it's like Christmas and New Year's all wrapped up into one. There's a lot of activity in high tech operations across-the-board -- major companies, search engines, students, professors."

Greenspan added that the pie-eating contests cover all flavors from apple to strawberry, while bar games often take place in bars and restaurants near high tech centers like Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York.

"There are contests to see who can reel off the biggest number of Pi -- sometimes more than 100 numbers," he added. "It's a popular bar game in some places. Computer guys are totally into these things."

While Pi Day activities have a light-hearted tone to them, Greenspan observed that there are many serious computer scientists who make a life's work out of working with Pi on supercomputers.

In cyberspace, a giant Pi facsimile will drop at exactly 1:59 pm Tuesday. In a nod to the first six digits of Pi, Greenspan said the Pi Drop will be repeated on the site in instant replay for those who miss the actual happening. And, he added there will be an interview with an animated Pi on the Web site.

Noting that Mathematicians Pictures is a business that focuses on "the rock stars of knowledge," Greenspan said the company markets an assortment of novelty items concerning famous scientists and mathematicians. They run the gamut from Ada, the mathematician many believe was the first software programmer, to Archimedes of Syracuse, the brilliant mathematician of ancient Greece.

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