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Let Them Eat Pi


Hordes of pie-loving students gathered in front of the Wilkinson Student Center on March 14 to celebrate the day that shares its name with the world’s most famous number—3.14… .

The annual Pi Day event is hosted by the BYU Department of Mathematics and features various pi-themed booths and activities including a pie-eating contest, pin the mustache on Einstein (March 14 is Albert Einstein’s birthday), pie the professor, and a pi-recitation contest.

“We just want people to be aware that math is here, and math is fun,” math major Matthew Schaelling said. “Of course we’re also a little nerdy, but we’re not painfully awkward. We like to have fun.”

As students walked through Brigham Square wiping pie and whipped cream from their faces, several stopped to watch their peers participate in the pi-recitation contest—a competition to find out which BYU student could recite the most digits in pi.

This year’s winner was chemical engineering student Andre Benhaim.

“This year I got 1,415,” Benhaim said. “Apparently the record is up to 4,000 now. So I’m going to have to work real hard. I didn’t start [memorizing] until Friday; hopefully if I start now, I’ll set a record that no one will ever break.”

Benhaim’s friend Jesse Olson understandably decided not to compete.

“I [know] like the first ten digits of pi. I don’t need to go more than that,” Olson said.

But he did participate in the much tastier pie-eating contest.

“I didn’t win, but I got some pie,” Olson said. “It’s just a fun day.”

The mathematics students volunteering at the event hope that attendees also gained a greater appreciation for the field of mathematics.

“I think there is kind of a belief that unless you do engineering or something, math is kind of a useless major, but that’s not the case,” math major Alexandra Hurst said. “We’re out to spread that [message].”

“Spread the good news,” fellow math major Ben Jafek quipped.