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UW Students Participate in Wyoming Pi Days to Solve Difficult Math Problems

May 5, 2022

Some University of Wyoming students gave new meaning to a pizza pi.

Twenty-two UW students participated in Wyoming Pi Days, a series of three “Pizza and Problem Solving” evenings in which students got together, ate pizza and worked on a series of mathematics/logic problems. These evenings -- March 24 and 31, and April 7 -- culminated in an examination called Pi Day Competition: a three-hour exam consisting of eight problems of varying difficulty. Seventeen of the 22 students took the exam.

“The main goal of Wyoming Pi Days is to strengthen the mathematics culture provided to undergraduates in the university,” says Jorge Flores, an assistant lecturer of mathematics and one of the coordinators of Wyoming Pi Days. “We are hoping that hosting an exam in which students receive prizes for working on interesting mathematics problems will increase their enthusiasm for mathematics; expose them to new problem-solving techniques; and motivate them to study new mathematics. We also hope that the ‘Pizza and Problem Solving’ evenings serve to prepare students for the Pi Day Competition and to create and strengthen a mathematics community in the university.”

Wyoming Pi Days was hosted and sponsored by the UW Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The event, for UW undergraduate students of all majors interested in mathematics, is an homage to the number pi, which is approximately 3.14.

Other event coordinators from the department were Tyrrell McAllister, an associate professor, and Christina Knox, an assistant lecturer.

The coordinators of the event discussed outstanding submissions and recognized the following participants:

Casper -- Andrew Ker, a senior majoring in mathematics and statistics.

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Jackson Grauer, a freshman majoring in mathematics.

Lyman -- Stone Olguin, a senior majoring in mathematics and statistics.

Rock Springs -- Ian Fletcher, a senior majoring in mathematics and economics.

All participants of the Pi Day Competition received a choice of a mathematics/logic book (from a list recommended by mathematics and statistics faculty) and a T-shirt. Additionally, the competition winners received a certificate of achievement and a 3D printed Klein bottle opener.

In topology, a branch of mathematics, a Klein bottle is a popular structure. It is an example of a nonorientable surface with no boundary that lives in four dimensions, locally looks two-dimensional and is commonly immersed in three dimensions as a self-intersecting bottle, Flores says.

Bryan Shader, a UW professor of mathematics, provided insight on where to find problems with the appropriate level of difficulty for the event. Eric Moorhouse, a UW professor of mathematics, created the T-shirt design. Jason Williford, department head and a UW professor of mathematics, provided financial and moral support.

“This is the second year of the event,” Flores says. “Our plan is to continue to hold Wyoming Pi Days every spring.”

For questions or more information about Wyoming Pi Days, email Flores at

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