The mathematical constant π, sometimes written as Pi, is approximately equal to 3.14159. Each year, Pi Day is celebrated on March 14. This year, the occasion will be once-in-a-century because the first 10 digits of the infinite series will be perfectly aligned around 9:26 AM (i.e., 3/14/15 9:26:53).

The Bradbury Science Museum plans to celebrate this Pi Day of the Century with a dynamic lecture by Carrie Manore, Kyle Hickmann, and Sara Del Valle, three mathematicians from Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the talk, they will give a brief history of Pi, describe its importance in mathematics, discuss the role computers have played in calculating Pi and show its latest known digit. They will also explain the so-called “wagon wheel effect” that you see in old western films. You might have wondered why the stagecoach wheels appear to be moving backwards. Well, the answer is intimately tied to Pi and has important consequences in applications as far reaching as radar imaging, X-ray imaging, and even making a call on your cell phone. They will end the discussion by demonstrating how you can use current technology such as your iPhone to calculate Pi or search for your birthday among the first 200 million digits.

This special lecture will be held in the classroom space at Time Out Pizzeria, 1350 Central Avenue, Los Alamos (next to the museum) on Saturday, March 14 from Noon to 1:00 PM. Join us and perhaps enjoy a pizza ‘pi’ special to mark the occasion while you listen!

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