Happy Pi Day!

Today, March 14th (3/14 in American date notation) is Pi Day. Via Simon Singh’s twitter feed, I found out about this really cool poem by Mike Keith. It’s a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven (“Once upon a midnight dreary…”), written in a style known as Pilish. Each word in the poem has the same number of letters as the digits of pi.

There are actually a number of mnemonics and even a book (also by Keith) which follow this pattern. Whilst some of these are very cute and fun little party pieces, I’m not sure how useful they’d actually be if you were trying to memorise pi to a particular number of digits. I personally have memorised it to 18 digits fairly easily, simply through rote and repitition – I’m no memory sportsperson.

The most popular Pilish phrase is

How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!

which is great because it’s both funny AND true.

I wore my pi shirt to the Global Atheist Convention today, (which I will blog about soon) and was surpised and little bit disappointed to only see one other person wearing one! Maybe it’s not everyone’s favourite irrational number after all… could be e I guess, e is pretty cool too but until February 71st rolls around, there won’t be an e day.


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