Posted on Categories Discover Magazine
The Science Near Me blog is a partnership between Discover magazine and ScienceNearMe.org. It’s almost March 14, better known as Pi Day – the only date on the calendar that looks like the first three digits of the mathematical constant, pi (π = 3.14). Not only does Pi Day give you an excellent excuse to eat pie, it’s also a fine time to learn and talk about math! Math is everywhere, whether you notice it or not. Engineers use math to build bridges and buildings, and programmers use it to design the apps we use every day on our devices. Even astronomers rely on math to explore planets and stars far away in space. But you don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate the many ways math helps us shape the world and understand the universe. Science Near Me, an interactive and customizable database full of science activities, provides opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved. This Pi Day, check out some of these exciting math-related activities that you can do in person and from the comfort of your home. Or, use Science Near Me to find more events in your area. Events on Pi Day Of course, you can learn about math and science any day of the year. But Pi Day offers a special opportunity to go out and celebrate in a unique way! March 14 also happens to be physicist Albert Einstein’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than throwing a party? Astronomy on Tap in Evanston, Illinois is hosting a birthday bash and Pi Day party at Five & Dime, where you can learn from astronomers about gravitational waves, black holes and more. There will also be trivia and a raffle to win pie. If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, you can check out Astronomy on Tap at the DC9 Nightclub on Pi Day to learn about collapsing stars and faraway galaxies. Astronomers from NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute will be there to discuss these topics, and admission is free. Too far away? No problem! There are Astronomy on Tap events in cities all over the world – just use Science Near Me’s search feature at the top of the homepage, and filter for ones in your area. You could also celebrate Pi Day by paying a visit to your local museum or science center. Some have special exhibits and movie showings that highlight the many ways math shapes our everyday lives. The Michigan Science Center, for example, is showing a movie called Dream Big: Engineering Our World which features fascinating stories about the world’s great engineering marvels. The film is playing at their IMAX theater until March 15. Things to Do at Home If the weather is bad or you just feel like staying home on Pi Day, there are many activities you can do to keep yourself and your family engaged. Computer games might seem like pure entertainment, but there are actually some that can help machine learning scientists with their research! The Omega Cluster, a game designed by researchers at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, trains an AI algorithm as you play. That algorithm is used to detect potential new cancer treatments, and each round helps it search for new possibilities faster. Or, if you’re interested in an online activity that combines nature with math and technology, try BRUVNet. You can help scientists sort through images to train an AI algorithm to identify different species in Australia’s Kakadu National Park. If something more hands-on is what you’re looking for, check out the Techsplorers home project kits. Designed for students aged 7–18, these kits pack in the basics of electrical engineering via interactive projects. Learn how to build circuits, code basic electronics and more! Computer programming, too, is a fun way to learn a new skill and apply math to everyday life. Learning to code is easier than ever, with so many accessible projects for beginners. For example, kids aged 8-17 can learn the basics of coding languages like C++ and Python with Whizara’s live, online classes taught by university students. And ImagiLabs makes learning Python easy with creative and approachable lessons. Beyond Pi Day – Events All Year Long! Pi Day only comes once a year, but opportunities to learn about math and science happen all the time! Science Near Me can help you identify activities in your area with our simple search function on the homepage. You can even search for events happening within a certain time frame if you are looking for something to do on a particular day or for a special occasion. Many activities are ongoing, too. So whenever you’re looking for something to do, a new adventure will be waiting! If your organization offers events, projects or programs that invite the public to engage in STEM, add it to Science Near Me!