Pi Day at San Jose State

Neil and I were juggling with the San Jose State juggling club when one of the members mentioned that the math department (from which two of the regular jugglers come) was having its Pi day celebration on Monday. No kidding? Neil loves pi more than pie! I emailed both our mathematical jugglers and wrangled an invitation from them.

I can’t say if I’ve ever known anyone quite as thrilled to have been invited to a Pi Day celebration as Neil and I were. On Sunday, I baked a Pi pie for the very event:

We juggled with the juggling club for 1/2 hour, whereupon the whole club decamped to join in the party. Professor Pfiefer, who’d taught Neil precalculus, told us there was a special club for people who know 1000 or more digits of Pi by heart. What this club does when they get together no one knows, but there had been a candidate or two for a professorship at San Jose State who had had official membership in said club.

Needless to say, the party had a lot of pie, both sweet and savory.

Here are Professors Jackson and Roddick and friends, celebrating with pie.

Here’s Professor Levine properly representing the Recreation and Fun department; Professor Pfieffer; and two students who love pi.

Neil brought two of his round puzzles for people to play with:

Professor Jackson found some Pi cubes to keep the drinks cold:

We spoke to the other Pi lovers about the day. I spoke to a grad student waiting to hear back from prospective Ph.D. granting universities. Neil told his best riddles. A student quizzed Neil about when and how he’d developed his interest in math (Neil’s answer: at the age of 5, from Ivan Moscovich logic puzzle books), and told me about The Zeitgeist Movement.

There was a salacious rumor that the physics department was also celebrating Pi day. What did they do to celebrate? Roll things around? Because you know that’s exactly the sort of thing I imagine the physics department does a lot. (And I find it curious that there are no physicist jugglers in the juggling club….)

Most of the party broke up around 1 pm, but Neil wanted to wait until Pi minute in order to properly celebrate the day here. The discussion of when Pi minute actually is (3-14 1:59 pm for you non-geeks out there) got an impromptu Pi fight going, though it was more of a Pi riff, if you ask me. It is rumored than someone in the math department met his wife in a Pi fight, though he was not identified.

By the time Pi minute rolled around, we were left with a professor and 3 students, but we celebrated it–as well as Pi second (oh, help me, it’s 3-14 1:59:26) with cheers. And then Neil had to go to work, and I had to go pick up Kelly.

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