Numerical Creativity

When I think of creativity, I tend to associate it with things like art, music, writing, acting and the like. These things seem more free form and open to interpretation. But in the math world things tighten down considerably: 2+2=4 and nothing more (or less). We all know what happens when you get creative with accounting – remember Enron? And you certainly don’t want a cashier to be “creative” when he gives you less change than you deserve just because he was "creative" in his counting. There just isn’t the flexibility with numbers.

However, I ran across a interesting article that opened my eyes to a form of numerical creativity that didn’t change the rules of math, but still centered around mathematics and what it’s possible to observe and even celebrate:

Shortly after 2:29 p.m. EDT today, the U.S. population clock will reach a milestone that is very meaningful to mathematical statisticians: it will show there are 314,159,265 residents, or pi (3.14159265) times 100 million. Pi is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. “This is a once in many generations go out and celebrate this American pi,” said Census Bureau Chief Demographer Howard Hogan.

Who would of thought? I don’t know if anyone celebrated this historic event, but I think Howard Hogan deserves credit for creatively associating a normally mundane set of numbers with this population milestone!


Our town is known for it's antique shops and this is one of them. The cooked version is so much closer to what I saw in my mind when I took the shot than the raw version.