Pi Day Friday: Pittsburgh celebrates math through pi

By: Katie Auwaerter  |  Asst. Features Editor

Courtesy of Duquesne American Chemical Society - Chemistry and Biochemistry professors Jeffry Madura, Jeffery Evanseck and Ralph Wheeler getting pied at last year’s Pi Day.
Courtesy of Duquesne American Chemical Society – Chemistry and Biochemistry professors Jeffry Madura, Jeffery Evanseck and Ralph Wheeler getting pied at last year’s Pi Day.

Mathletes and science nerds rejoice; your day of celebration is almost here.

Pi Day is this Friday. Not to be confused with National Pie Day on Jan. 23, Pi Day celebrates the mathematical constant π, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

But how do you celebrate such a momentous holiday? Luckily, Pittsburgh is not one to disappoint, offering many different ways for you to celebrate your favorite math constant.

For those who are 21 year or older, celebrate in style at the Carnegie Science Center. Partnering with the Rivers Casino, the Science Center’s 21+ Night will give attendees the chance to learn how to play games such as roulette, blackjack and poker while hearing some of the math and history behind the games from Rivers Casino Director of Table Games Rob Guthrie.

“You get to learn the games, but you really get to learn what’s behind the games and the math behind them. And that’s something that you really can’t do anywhere else,” said Zachary Weber, the Education Coordinator of Adult Programs for the Carnegie Science Center.

Like other 21+ events, the event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 on Pi Day. The four floors of the science center will be open for guests to explore without screaming toddlers. The Omnimax and laser shows will be running throughout the night.

“There will be cash bars and food available for sale, live music in our robot lounge, and the Rivers Casino pastry chef will be making pie in our kitchen theater so that will be a theater show,” Weber said.

If you’re under 21 or don’t want to leave campus, there are still plenty of ways for you to celebrate.

Duquesne’s chapter of the American Chemical Society will pie Chemistry professors in the face, but with a new twist this year.

“Every year we pie our professors, and this year we decided to pie undergraduate and graduate students as well,” said Sarah Kochanek, junior Chemistry major and President of the ACS.

Students can vote to pie a professor or student by putting money or spare change in a person’s envelope in the Chemistry Department’s office in 308 Mellon Hall. Each of the participating professors and students have their own envelope, and the top three professors, undergraduate students and graduate students will be the victims. On Pi Day, the students will get to pie the professors in the face then the professors will have an opportunity for revenge by pie-ing the students.

According to Ben Jagger, a junior Chemistry major and executive committee member of ACS, it’s a great way to bring the students and professors together.

“Pie-ing the professors is a really nice ice breaker between the students and the faculty to get them more comfortable with each other. Once you’ve put some pie in someone’s face, you’re not afraid to talk to them anymore,” Jagger said.

For their DU Nites, which runs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., the Duquesne Program Council is getting in on the Pi action as well.

“We’re having a variety of pies in the Night Spot so anyone can come down and have a slice of pie,” said Sarah Cubarney, a junior accounting major and Recreation Director of Duquesne Program Council.

So why all this excitement for an infinite number?

For Jansto and the entire American Chemical Society, “it’s a way to have the entire campus be involved with something that we use so often. So it’s sharing what we do.”

Weber also agrees.

“Everybody likes to be a little bit geeky every now and then and celebrating Pi Day is the perfect way to do that,” Weber said.