While a small minority love the subject, the vast majority express a strong dislike for the subject. Many actually fear the subject and find it extremely stressful.
Maths can actually be fun. The purpose of this column and the ones to follow is to introduce a lighthearted approach to Mathematics and hopefully kindle an interest in the subject.
Do you know that there are celebration days during the year related to Mathematics? I am listing below some of the more important ones.
Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of Pi.
Pi Approximation Day is observed on July 22 (22/7 in the day/month format), since the fraction 22⁄7 is a common approximation of π, which is accurate to two decimal places and dates from Archimedes.
Tau Day, an anti-Pi Day holiday, is an unofficial observance held every year since 2010 on June 28, or 06/28 as written in the American date format.
According to some Mathematicians Tau is a better constant than Pi. Tau is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its radius and is therefore equal to 2 x Pi or 2 x 3.14 which is 6.28 (all approximations).
November 23 is Fibonacci Day, an annual holiday that honors one of the most influential mathematicians of the Middle Ages – Fibonacci.
November 23 is celebrated as Fibonacci day because when the date is written in the mm/dd format (11/23), the digits in the date form a Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3. A Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where a number is the sum of the two numbers before it. For example: 1, 1, 2, 3…is a Fibonacci sequence. Here, 2 is the sum of the two numbers before it (1+1). Similarly, 3 is the sum of the two numbers before it (1+2).
Yellow Pig Day
July 17 is Yellow Pig Day. Despite its name, the day is not a celebration of the porcine world, but a celebration of the number 17.
It is unclear why the day was called Yellow Pig Day or what a yellow pig has to do with the number 17.
17 is a prime number that has significance in mathematics. It is the sum of the first four prime numbers – 2, 3, 5, and 7. A prime number is a number that can only be divided by 1 and by itself. Several studies have shown that when people are asked to choose a number between 1 and 20, a majority of people choose the number 17.
A Palindrome Day happens when the date can be read the same way backward and forward. The dates are similar to word palindromes in that they are symmetrical.
Because date formats vary from country to country, not all dates that are considered palindromic in one kind of date format are Palindrome Days in another. For instance, February 2, 2020 or 02-02-2020 is a palindromic date in the mm-dd-yyyy and dd-mm-yyyy format, but it isn’t if you write the date as m-dd-yy (2-02-2020).
e-Day celebrates the mathematical constant e, which has a value of 2.7182818. It is celebrated on February 7 in countries that follow the month/day (m/d) date format. This is because the first two digits of the date – 2/7 – correspond to the first two digits of the constant.
People living in countries that follow the day/month (d/m) format celebrate it on January 27. The first three digits of this date – 27/1 – match up with the first three digits of e (2.71).
Pythogorean Triple Days
Dates based on Pythagorean triples where the sum of the squares of two of the numbers are equal to the square of the third number are called Pythagorean Triple Days.
These are days like 15th August, 2017 where 8 squared plus 15 squared is equal to 17 squared . There is one upcoming one 10/24/26.
The only other day based on a primitive Pythagorean triple (not a multiple of an earlier one) is on July 24, 2025. And after that, there are no more this century.