Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's a Matter of Math & Yellow Pig Day

Yellow Pig : hand inserting a coin in yellow pig moneybox Stock Photo
Photo courtesy 123rf.com

For some mathematicians July 17 is Yellow Pig Day.  The history of Yellow Pig Day began in the 1960's when two Princeton University math students, Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly, were exploring the properties of the number 17 and talking about their interest in yellow pigs while drinking at a local bar.  Spivak went on to found the Publish-or-Perish Press, lecture in mathematics, and write books with yellow pig references.  Kelly went on to become a math professor, to collect yellow pigs, and to collect the number 17 in print.

Yellow Pig Day is celebrated primarily, but not exclusively, where Kelly now teaches, Hampshire College, and specifically on July 17 during the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics.  On this day mathematicians exchange gifts relating to math and yellow pigs, sing yellow pig carols, and play a game called Ultimate that involves throwing frisbees.

For more information click here for the HCSSiM Yellow Pig Pages, and click here for the HCSSiM page.  What do you do on July 17?  And what did you learn today?

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