Cosmos Pi-ku 2021 competition

March 14 is International Day of Mathematics – UNESCO declared it so at its 40th General Conference in 2019 – and also Pi Day (that’s the constant pi, not pie) in the US (where March 14 is written in month/day format – 3.14).

International Day of Mathematics observance is led by the International Mathematical Union, whose theme in 2021 is Mathematics for a Better World.

There’s also a Pi Approximation Day, observed on 22 July (22/7 in day/month format), since the fraction 227 is a common approximation of pi, accurate to two decimal places. And let’s not forget Two Pi Day, also known as Tau Day for the mathematical constant, observed on June 28 (6/28 in month/day format).

At the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus), we’re celebrating the day by launching the Cosmos Pi-ku 2021 competition. Pay attention now.

To enter, you need to write a Pi-ku: that’s kind of like a haiku, only with more syllables.

A haiku in English is generally accepted to be a poem of three lines and 17 syllables arranged in a 5–7–5 pattern.

A Pi-ku (for our purposes) is a poem of six lines and 23 syllables arranged in a 3–1–4–1–5–9 pattern (Pi to five decimal places: 3.14159).

To get you started, we asked RiAus staff members to whip up a Pi-ku: 

Learning STEM
remember science,
technology, engineering, maths.
– Jennifer Chalmers
Education Manager

Riddle me
unbidden, alert,
its long shadow cast as if metal.
– Ian Connellan
Digital Editor,

To stay safe,
an area
Pi times one point five
metres squared around yourself always.
– Lauren Fuge
Science Journalist

Summer days
As the darkness
I turn my mind to 
books, friends, laughter – and the breeze to come.
– Gail MacCallum

further studies need
to be done before they know for sure.
– Ellen Phiddian
Science Journalist

This weekend
will ride a bike
perhaps play guitar.
That’s not something I would joke about.
– Chuck Smeeton
Chief Operating Officer

Ice cream treats
simply the best
to keep Kelly sweet.
Or else you may see the worst of me.
– Kelly Wong
Social Media Manager

See? Not too hard…

To enter, write one of more Pi-kus and email them, including your name and a contact telephone number here.

Entries open today, International Day of Mathematics, close on Two Pi Day – we’ll announce the judging panel that day – and winners will be announced on Pi Approximation Day.

Entries will be judged for style, originality and alignment with science and Pi. 

The top three entries will win a Cosmos digital subscription.

Get writing!

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