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Martin Rebas


Pi Approximation Day

This day may be celebrated in a variety of ways. Pause and give thought to the role that the number pi has played in your life. Imagine a world without pi. Attempt to memorise pi to as many decimal places as you can. If you're feeling creative, devise alternative values for pi. Go to a party (I will). Or just celebrate in the time-honoured fashion of ignoring Pi Approximation Day altogether.

-- Excerpt from an explanatory posting to alt.discordia
(possibly by Andrew C Bulhak, but I'm not sure)


Pi Approximation Day is on the 22/7 - that is, July 22. It was celebrated at Chalmers University during 1995-1998.

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Kasper inhales Swedish punch with the aid of a straw.


1995 celebrations

The celebration was held by what could arguably be called some of the weirder Computer Science students at Chalmers University of Technology.

Most people celebrated the day by eating waffles and consuming Swedish Punch in various highly unlikely ways. There was also agitated discussion about how circles would look, if the ratio of their circumference to their diameter would equal 3.

Viktor's theory was that they'd kind of be oval, all way round. I suggested that they'd look just like ordinary circles, but slightly smaller. Some people made feeble attempts at learning new decimals of Pi.

The waffles tasted good.


[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
The Pool™

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Magnus and Elin, experiencing bad lighting conditions.


1996 celebrations

Steadfastly determined to make everything that has happened at least once before a tradition, a group of insane students held a celebration in 1996, too.

This year, the celebration started out with a group of people drinking, inhaling, and snorting Swedish punch in the CS students' official Pool™.

The celebration proceeded with about 15 students ordering and eating pizza, perhaps since that was the most on-topic food they could find, or maybe just because they were hungry and would have eaten that anyway.

Later on, Elin, Magnus and I went home to my apartment where we ate a piece of blueberry pie (with vanilla ice cream).

All in all, not a bad day.


[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Two of the pies

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Gres educates people

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Kasper inhales Swedish punch


1997 celebrations

This year, about twenty people decided to attend the celebrations held inside Basen, the Computer Science students' premises. At first, the celebrations were meant to take place outdoors, but an unexpected visit by the rain gods necessitated a quick change of plans.

This year's celebrations were a bit more planned than the previous years'. Three meat pies, decorated with appropriate mathematical imagery, were baked and eaten. Gres told everyone about the proper way of inhaling punch (an oxymoron, I know). Some people followed his advice. Other people who liked Swedish punch, but thought it should be drunk, drank it instead. I did neither.

People drank beer and talked about a wide array of subjects; ranging from sex to movies to, um, more sex. Janne, having a vivid imagination, reminisced about when he had sex with Ingrid - much to Ingrid's surprise. People talked about Top Gun and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, quoting things from the latter, and talking about what they thought was cool or stupid in the former.

I had also baked a pie for the event; an apple pie. The trouble was, there were seventeen people around the table, but there was only pie enough for ten. Being sneaky, I decided to wait until some people left.

They did. We ate pie and vanilla ice cream. People discussed Jehova's Witnesses, contraceptives and Pi. Fred declared that the happy look of Hare Krishnas was caused by some sort of a spray. Norpan tried to calculate a suitable date for an e approximation day; alas, the day turned out to be 19/7, that is, three days ago. Thus ended another Pi approximation day.


[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Rhubarb pie

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Me, drawn by Jens

[Pi Approximation Day Celebration]
Jens, drawn by me

1998 celebrations

Apparently, there were people in Basen this year too, drinking Swedish punch and what not.

I wasn't there; instead, I visited my friend Jens. We made a rhubarb pie, played Bubble Bobble on his Commodore 64, and watched a Max von Sydow movie. I didn't bring a camera, so to document the event, we used pencil and paper.