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International Day of Mathematics 2021: History, Theme and Significance

The day is written in the MM/DD format so that it represents the value of Pi that is 3/14. (Image by Shutterstock/Representational)

The day is written in the MM/DD format so that it represents the value of Pi that is 3/14. (Image by Shutterstock/Representational)

This year, the theme of the International Day of Mathematics is “Mathematics for a Better World”.

International Day of Mathematics is annually celebrated on March 14. The day was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during its general conference in 2019. Before this, the day was marked as Pi Day. The day was first celebrated in 1988 after Physicist Larry Shaw. The day is written in the MM/DD format so that it represents the value of Pi that is 3/14. Moreover, mathematician and physicist, Albert Einstein was also born on this date.

The value of Pi was first calculated by a mathematician who was called Archimedes of Syracuse. However, the value was officially accepted by the scientific community only after Leonhard Euler came up with the symbol of Pi in 1737.

In order to celebrate this day, math enthusiasts organise Pi recital competitions, Pi-Day-themed workshops etc. Many people also conduct sessions wherein they try to inculcate young students’ interest in mathematics by playing interactive games, worksheets, among other events. Many adults also take a keen interest in these workshops to keep their love for the subject alive.

This year, the theme of the International Day of Mathematics is “Mathematics for a Better World”. On the occasion of International Day of Mathematics 2021, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO in an official statement said, “Mathematics, with its many technical applications, now underpins all areas of our lives. Together with algorithms, mathematics plays a key role in artificial intelligence and technological disruptions – and, as we address global issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, we are reminded of the importance of mathematics in responding to the challenges of our time.”

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An international celebration of the day will be conducted on Sunday. People across the globe will be joining the event online. Organized by the International Mathematics Union, the event will include a mixture of virtual and face-to-face celebrations in 2021, including celebrations in classrooms. Internal Day of Mathematics 2021 is celebrated in more than 70 countries with over 410 individual events.

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first published:March 14, 2021, 09:56 IST