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Pi Day and Albert Einstein

Today many educators, including math teachers, who are looking for ways to engage students’ minds can sweeten the learning curve by celebrating March 14 (3.14), Pi Day. Just like pi, there are infinite possibilities in motivating students in learning this mathematical constant (as long as they get to eat the examples, of course). Making pies, cookies, cakes, and other circular foods (don’t forget about pizza!) of different sizes can all play a part in motivating students in discovering the wonders of pi.

Students can double down on the learning experience because today is also the birthday of the world’s most celebrated scientist, Albert Einstein. And you can bet that Einstein was no stranger to pi. March 14 is a wonderful opportunity to enlighten your students about the endless fascination to the mathematical constant pi (3.14), and at the same time teach them about the extraordinary life of one of our greatest scientists. Be sure to click on the pi and Albert Einstein images below to open ProQuest Research Topics to learn more on both, or search eLibrary here.

Here are some facts about both Pi and Albert Einstein:

Pi

  • Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (circumference divided by diameter).
  • Pi is an irrational number meaning that it cannot be written as a fraction and therefore has to be expressed as an infinite non-repeating decimal.
  • The Babylonians first calculated the area of a circle around 2,000 B.C.
  • Archimedes was the first to use the calculation of pi. He roughly calculated the area of a circle using the Pythagorean Theorem to find the areas of two regular polygons.
  • The earliest adoption of the Greek symbol for pi (π) was by William Jones.
  • The closest fraction representing pi is 22/7.
  • English singer-songwriter Kate Bush has a song called “Pi” in which she sings the number’s first 100 decimal places.

Albert Einstein

  • Einstein dropped out of high school and failed his first college entrance exam.
  • Adolph Hitler considered Einstein enemy number one. After Hitler’s ascendancy to Chancellor of Germany, he had his house sacked while he was in California. Einstein never returned to Germany.
  • Family members say Albert didn’t start to speak until the age of four.

  • Einstein was a member of the NAACP. When Einstein arrived in America he was shocked by how African Americans were treated. Before he moved to America he frequently corresponded with civil rights leader and founder of the NAACP, W.E.B. Dubois.
  • In less than one year in 1905, Einstein, an unknown scientist at the time, wrote and published his Annu mirabilis (The Miracle Year) papers. In these papers, he redefined the laws of physics and altered our views on space, time, mass, and energy, and laid the foundation for all modern physics we know today.
  • After Einstein’s death, Princeton University pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey performed Einstein’s autopsy. He removed his brain for research purposes but strangely kept it at his house for over 40 years. Some time later in the 1990s, he took the brain on a strange trip across America in the trunk of a Buick Skylark.

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