Honor Thy Yellow Pigs

mathematics yellow pigs seventeen

In the 1960s, two Princeton University math students became so enthralled with the special properties of the number 17, they created a holiday honoring the number and the study of mathematics. Yellow Pigs Day, named for one of the student’s collection of yellow pigs, has been celebrated by mathletes each July 17 ever since.

And why not? Math is worth celebrating, and few people, if any, could get by without it in their lives. In honor of Yellow Pigs Day, let’s have a look at three early innovators in the field of mathematics.

Pythagoras. Born more than 2,500 years ago in Greece, Pythagoras is considered the first pure mathematician. He started a philosophical and religious school in Italy where his many followers were known as mathematkoi. Pythagoras believed all things were numbers—that math was the basis for everything in the physical word. He studied and helped us understand perfect numbers, odd and even numbers and triangular numbers. He increased our knowledge of angles, triangles, proportion, areas, polyhedrons and polygons. He’s best known for the Pythagorean Theorem.

Euclid. Born about 2,300 years ago in Greece, Euclid was the founder of the Alexandria School of Mathematics in Egypt. He’s often referred to as the “Father of Geometry” and is most famous for his book, “Elements.” The book was a collection of his own work and that of others who came before him, including Pythagoras. “Elements” covers rules of logic, geometric objects and arithmetic. The book is one of the most studied and published in history.

Archimedes. Born about 2,200 years ago in Italy, Archimedes was a renowned inventor and engineer who studied in Alexandria, Egypt. He spent much of his time devoted to geometry, science and the principles of mechanics. He furthered our understanding of simple machines like levers and pulleys and such topics as specific gravity, hydrostatics and buoyancy. He created formulas to determine such things as the area of a circle and the volume of a sphere. He’s revered as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

At Infinite Energy, we know that if there’s anything beyond math that these three had in common, it’s the truth that education is important. And we look forward to the discoveries made by the next generation of math superstars. Happy Yellow Pigs Day, mathletes!