Happy Pi Day
Monday, March 14, 2016
The irrational number \pi, which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, is truncated or rounded to 3.14. Since today is March 14th, or 3/14, it’s Pi Day. NIH celebrates Pi Day by reflecting on the variety of ways that mathematics and all the quantitative sciences are used in biomedical science.
The day starts with PiCo talks. Each talk aims to give the listener a flavor of some quantitative work using 3 slides to describe 1 idea in 4 minutes. These short talks are about pico-M years long, pico being 10-12 and M being 7.6 million. To put this into perspective, 7.6 million years ago is approximately when the evolutionary line that led to African elephants diverged from the evolutionary line that led to Asian elephants and mammoths (see Rohland et al).
The PiCo talks blend into a Networking Event, where follow-on discussions can take place over a slice of pie. Apple \pi, anyone?
Next up is the Distinguished Data Science Lecture, sponsored by the ADDS (Associate Director for Data Science) Office and the Big Data to Knowledge Initiative. This year’s guest speaker is Dr. Carlos Bustamante. Dr. Bustamante was recently announced as the inaugural chair of Stanford’s Biomedical Data Science Department.
Pi Day concludes with a workshop on a topic of utmost importance – reproducibility of science. The workshop will highlight potential pitfalls in the analysis of data, to help participants avoid common mistakes. Investing two hours in this workshop may well help you avoid future embarrassment.
However you spend your Pi Day, take a moment to reflect on how a quantitative science (e.g. math, statistics, computer science, physics, engineering, etc.) has helped your work, and share it with #NIH_PiDay.