Square Root Day: There are only nine days this century like this

The day was coined and publicised by a former high school teacher from California

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 04 April 2016 14:59 BST
There are only nine such days every century
There are only nine such days every century

There is no national holiday. People do not get a day off work.

But for a certain type of person, there are fewer more exciting days than the fourth of April 2016.

The date so written - 4/4/16 - represents just one of nine so-called Square Root Days every century. The last was celebrated on March 3 2009 and the next one will be marked on May 5 2025.

President Barack Obama may be America's first and only square root president 

But according to the man who coined the day, Californian mathematician Ron Gordon, today’s Square Root Day is more special than most; it also marks the start of the Major League Baseball Season and is taking place during the administration of Barack Obama, who this year became the first - and perhaps only - “square root president”.

“There are a lot of bonuses to today,” Mr Gordon told The Independent. “We have Obama, the 44th president, governing in 2016. He is the first and probably the only square root president.”

Mr Gordon said presidents Polk (#11) Cleveland (#22) and Truman (#33) did not make it.

“We’ve had 44 presidents in 229 years, averaging 5.2 years in office for each. Presidents 55 and 77 won’t come close to that pattern,” he said.

“The three remaining possibilities? Averaging just under 5.41 years going forward, we could have President #66 in 2136. With a bit over 5.61 years, we could see President #88 in 2264, and if they average 4.8 years in office, our 99th President would serve in 2281.”

Mr Gordon has set up his own webpage to mark the day where he has posted a poem in its honour:

“A day to enjoy the squarest of roots

baseball and math?? hey, they’re in cahoots!

Only 9 times a century we have such a day

play ball!! do some math! hip hip hooray!”

Mr Gordon has previously publicised Odd Day, 11/13/15 , which consisted on three consecutive odd numbers and which will not happen again this century.

Mr Gordon, a former high school teacher from Redwood, has offered a cash prize of $441.6(0) to 4-plus-4-plus-16 winners who can involve the most people in a Square Root celebration. Entries could include creating the largest square root sign from people, serving root beer in square glasses to the most people, or cutting roots into squares, or cubes, for a square root stew.

He told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he considered there were a number of suitable activities to mark the day. “Get things squared away, try to fit a square peg into a round hole, go square dancing, tie a square knot, travel on Route 66, drink root beer from a square glass, root for the underdog, eat a square meal, or watch the pigs root around,” he said.

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