Tasmanian author, Helen Prochazka, has long celebrated International Pi Day and this year will be no exception with the relaunch of a maths-focused album and a song written about the numerical infiniteness of Pi.
Pi Day is held annually on the 14th day of the third month (or March 14—3.14 in the American calendar) aligning with the first three digits of pi, 3.14, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.
Pi Day — which also happens to fall on Albert Einstein’s birthday—was invented by the San Francisco Exploratorium where the first Pi Day celebration was held in 1988. Pi Day is now celebrated in educational institutions around the world, including in Australia.
While she admits it’s not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, former maths teacher and author of The Mathematics Book, Helen Prochazka, says maths can be fun, light-hearted and beautiful.
“I believe maths can be truly fascinating and that days like ‘Pi Day’ help to remove the stigma that maths is dry and unappealing and conversely, help to capture the interest and attention of those who have perhaps lacked that understanding” Ms Prochazka said.
It was this belief which led her, along with Maurice Murphy, former head of entertainment at the ABC and executive producer of comedy The Norman Gunston Show, to create More Than Numbers, an album of 14 songs based on the poetry and mathematical concepts featured in The Mathematics Book.
The songs which range in style from jazz to pop, were composed and by local musicians from The Compartment Arts, Nic Courto and Craig M Wood.
So unique was the concept, that one of the songs on the album—“The Pi Song”—became a major contender for Australia’s Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm in 2016.
Mr Murphy believes music is the perfect vehicle to engross people in mathematics.
“Learning maths can sometimes be difficult and unappealing, but these songs are a fun and unexpected way to engage others in mathematical concepts” he said.
“And hey, who doesn’t like a good, upbeat pop song?”
• A live performance of the upbeat track can be found here: http://bit.ly/2HpFbIe