Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 the number that will be top of mind around the world on the 22nd July, aka 22/7, the date that represents the world’s favourite mathematical constant, Pi!

Join the national science hub, The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus), as it celebrates the intrigue of mathematics and the deliciousness of all things pie on international Pi Day, 22nd July 2010.

In the free public event, Australia’s National Numeracy Ambassador and self-confessed number cruncher Simon Pampena will host a special screening of renowned director Aronofsky’s cult film, Pi while guests nibble on mini pies courtesy of Vili’s and one giant pie courtesy of the RiAus.

The Greek letter spelled out as Pi is an abbreviation of the Greek word for perimeter and is approximately equal to 3.141593. The 22nd of July is recognised as worldwide Pi Day because 22/7 approximately equals 3.14

“If I would like to draw a circle the best way to do it is to look at the diameter, the line across which cuts it in half, and then multiply that by some number to give me the length around it, the perimeter. And that number happens to be Pi,” Simon explains.

“Because Pi is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be expressed as a fraction, its decimal form never ends or repeats, which has resulted in math lovers the world over mapping the string of digits for tens of thousands of decimal place!” he says.

Since Archimedes, who was the first to estimate pi in approximately 200 BC, the effort to determine Pi more accurately and to understand its nature has been a hallmark of mathematics throughout the ages and the current world record of the Pi calculation is 1012 - or one trillion digits.

“There is a sort of mania around mapping Pi, but representation to eleven decimal places is good enough to estimate the circumference of any circle that fits inside the earth and thirty decimal places will suffice for the circumference of any circle within the universe,” Simon explains.

Pi day is a great time for mathematicians and pie lovers to unite.

“Pi is a great example of mathematicians sharing some common ground with non-mathematicians. The fact it is a simple idea with bizarre nature makes Pi a pop culture cross-over star!” Simon explains.

Examples of Pi being explored by non-mathematicians include: Darren Aronofsky’s number theorist in the film Pi, Carl Sagan’s novel Contact which suggests a message lies within the digits of Pi, and alternative musician, Kate Bush’s song Pi, which is largely composed of the Pi digits.

In anticipation of the celebration, Culinetic’s Aaron Gillespie, Head Chef of the RiAus Science Exchange, has created a giant pie, which the science hub will share with its guests tomorrow, 22nd July 2010.

Celebrate Pi Day on Thursday 22 July 6-7:30pm at The RiAus Science Exchange: 55 Exchange Place Adelaide. Free but booking essential. To book visit

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The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus)

About the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus)
The national science hub, the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) concentrates on ‘bringing science to people and people to science’. It creates real and virtual spaces in which people can listen, talk and think about science in all its shapes and forms and develop innovative and accessible ways of engaging the general community, raising scientific awareness and lifting the level of debate on critical issues arising from science and technology. The RiAus strives to highlight the importance of science in everyday life. For more information about Pi Day and the free celebration at the RiAus please visit:
Julia Loughlin
P: (08) 8114 6166


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