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The π-Day Challenge

PCharles Darwin's birthday is fine for a serious celebration, but can cell biologists come up with something with the popular if geeky charm of π-Day
Charles Darwin's birthday is fine for a serious celebration, but can cell biologists come up with something with the popular if geeky charm of π-Day?

March 14 has now become established as π-Day, that is 3.14, at least in the American way of writing the date. (It is never π-Day in Europe, for example, where it’s merely 14 March. Sorry.) The spread of π-Day is largely the work of physics and math teachers who took a mathematical pun and ran with it. Biologists can only look on in wordless admiration for, quite frankly, we are π-Day-challenged. We lack a biology “holiday” or at least one with the playful if totally geeky charm of π-Day. True, there have been various proposals (and serious attempts) to celebrate a “biology” day around the birthday of Charles Darwin, February 9 (which is also Lincoln’s birthday, Charlie and Abe being born on the very same day in 1809). We are big fans of Charles Darwin around here and will certainly come up with something Historic and Amazing, come February 9 next year.

But Darwin Day is serious science and, alas, in some places in the United States, political. You know, that nasty business about common descent of all life with change over time by natural selection? Besides, biology has other heroes and heroines in need of celebration. There are also those who feel we should declare the week that the Nobel Prizes are announced in early October as Discovery Week. Again, that would be serious. No, in the face of π-Day what biology lacks is a day, a month, a seasonal or natural event that makes some clever (if geeky) reference to our science. Something to do with DNA?  Codons? One of the new “Omics?” Phosphorylation? The cell cycle? Chromosomes?

You tell us. The ASCB Post is seeking a clever (but not too abstruse) excuse for a “biology day” (a “cell biology” day would be even better but don’t tell Nature Magazine). We can be reached This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We will post any suitably witty and/or viable candidates for a non-serious but memorable biology day, along with the name and short rationale of the submitter. (Pseudonyms allowed for the shy but we insist on your real email. What if you become famous?)

Meantime, biologists, take note: π-Day in 2015 is going to be Very Big, as the stars or rather the numbers will align for the date of 3.14.15, which will extend π into the fourth decimal place, at least in the United States (Sorry once again, Europe). Biologists, we can top this.

Created on Thursday, March 14, 2013

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