High schoolers attend ‘Pi Day’ speech

Photo: Anne Quinn
Several high school students from local schools enjoyed ‘Pi Day’ this past week.

The Spectator
 

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science welcomed 350 juniors from nine neighboring high schools for the department’s 7th annual “Pi Day” on Monday, March 16.

The morning started with tours of the campus and a visit to the Science Museum in Cooper Hall.

Students spent the remainder of the morning in activities and contests, including Barbie Bungee, Buffon’s Needle, Towers of Hanoi, 24 Challenge, Oculus Rift, Pi trivia, listing the digits of Pi, calculating Pi, and constructing the first 180 digits of Pi on the bridge by Ross Hall.

After engaging in activities, students attended talks given by department faculty and students that explained the mathematics behind the games.

One talk that used mathematics to increase the chance of finding a date to the prom was delivered to a “standing room only” crowd.

At the end of the morning, prizes were given for the best contest performances, including one high school student who had recited the 202 digits of Pi by memory.

Later that day, 800 high school and college students crowded into Cole Auditorium to hear famed mathematician and magician, Dr. Arthur Benjamin, perform “Secrets of Mental Math” as the keynote address.

Cited by Reader’s Digest as “America’s Best Math Whiz” and by Princeton Review as one of the “Best 300 Professors,” Benjamin has performed around the world, and his shows have been seen on TED.com by 10 million viewers.

“Dr. Art Benjamin has amazed groups around the world with his ‘Mathemagics.’ Our department was excited to have him at Edinboro University as the keynote speaker for ‘Pi Day’ on March 16,” said Dr. Anne Quinn, chair of the mathematics and computer science department.

Benjamin performed for students by “squaring numbers faster than a calculator, multiplying five digit numbers in his head, and calculating the day of the week of anyone’s birthday or any date in time.”

Many of the high school students brought their families back to Edinboro that evening when Benjamin returned for a second show that was attended by Edinboro students, faculty, and others.

Participating schools for Pi Day included Union City, Fort LeBeouf, McDowell, Saegertown, Cambridge Springs, General McLane, Conneaut Area, Warren County Christian and Mercyhurst Prep.