International day of the number π. History of the holiday and how it was celebrated in KPI

The number π is one of the most famous and important mathematical constants in the world. If we didn't know the number π, there would be no TV, radio, or telephones, and we wouldn't be able to travel by air. Without the formulas whose entries contain the number π, it would be impossible to calculate the flight paths of spacecraft. In short, the number π appears in formulas used in a wide variety of fields. Physics, electrical engineering, electronics, probability theory, construction, and navigation are just a few of them. 

So every year, mathematicians around the world celebrate the Day of the Number π on March 14. This holiday was introduced 36 years ago by San Francisco physicist Larry Shaw. He proposed to start this celebration on March 14, because in the American style, this date is written as 3/14, namely 3.14 - the first three most famous digits of the number π. In addition, one of the world's greatest scientists, Albert Einstein, was born on March 14. Since then, the celebration of the Day of the Number π has gradually become more and more widespread, and in 2019, UNESCO designated March 14 as the official International Day of Mathematics.

For the first time, Ukrainian mathematicians wanted to celebrate π Day in 2022 and even prepared numerous announcements. However, on February 24, we were all in no mood for celebrations. Fortunately, thanks to our Armed Forces, we were able to return to last year's idea in 2023. The main initiator of a comprehensive celebration of Mathematics Day at the national level was the Junior Academy of Sciences. And Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, together with other partner universities, joined the organization of interesting events, the main purpose of which was to popularize mathematics among schoolchildren and students and to intensify career guidance work with talented youth.

The Department of Mathematical Analysis and Probability Theory of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of our University (Head of the Department - Oleg Klesov) prepared a set of events under the joint title "Scientific Picnic". The celebration lasted for a whole week, and it began on March 14, when the rector of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Mykhailo Zgurovsky made a welcoming speech.

The next day, the first of the large-scale events of the Scientific Picnic took place - a math battle. Two teams of students from our university took part in it, and were offered 8 mathematical problems. The format of the mathematical battle involves a speaker representing one team presenting a solution to one of the problems that the team managed to prepare in 24 hours, after which the opponent from the other team looks for flaws in the solution and thus tries to take away some of the points for this problem. Then the teams switch, and the battle continues until all the problems are solved. As a result of several hours of confrontation, the team "Desperate Mathematical Fighters", consisting of students Yegor Okuniev (captain), Ilona Snigura, Dmytro Kulia, Vitalii Petrovskyi, Oleksandra Hubar, Svitlana Dorofeieva, Matvii Ostapchuk, Mariia Terzieva, Denys Chaus, Oleksandra Gerasymchuk, won the Pi Day Digital Battle. They are real good at what they do! 

The next stage of the celebration, which took place on March 16, was the mathematical quest "Paths of Mysterious Numbers", which was attended by almost 150 students from different parts of Ukraine. The quest was held online on the Sikorsky distance learning platform. Its peculiarity was that to access each subsequent task, it was necessary to enter a password that was the answer to the previous task. However, if the participant could not solve any of the tasks, he could simply wait for a while, lose points and find out the answer to be able to continue the quest. The winner was to be the participant who scored the most points in the least amount of time. A student from Kharkiv, Iryna Guzhva, won with an excellent score of 97 points out of 100.

Friday, March 17, was the day of video lectures. Students of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics prepared several videos about the number π, how to calculate it, its history and its significance in our world. The final chord was a performance by Viktor Yuskovych, an assistant at the Department of Mathematical Analysis and Probability Theory, who played the Music of the Number π on the piano, a melody obtained by translating a sequence of digits of the number π into a sequence of notes.

The last day of the celebration, March 18, was marked by two events. The first of them was a mathematical conference organized by Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and other universities and held on the territory of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. It was attended by dozens of schoolchildren and students from all over the country, and the moderators of the sections and members of the program committee were teachers of the Department of Mathematical Analysis and Probability Theory. The second event was summarizing the results of another competition organized by our university as part of the celebration of the Day of Mathematics - the competition "3 and 14 ways of calculating 2023". The task of the competition was to find the best way (in terms of the number of times the number π is used) to express the number 2023 using only the number π and several mathematical operations. The winner of the competition was Maria Derkach, a student of the Polytechnic Lyceum of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, who needed only seven numbers π.

The winners received diplomas and memorable souvenirs. We hope that the celebration of International Mathematics Day will become a tradition that will continue in the future. After all, mathematics is the foundation for other sciences; without its knowledge, it is impossible to become an engineer. And just as it is impossible to imagine any technical science without mathematics, it is also impossible to imagine mathematics itself without the number π.

Anton SyrotenkoSenior Lecturer at the Department of Mathematical Analysis and Probability Theory, FMF