Religious holidays, patriotic holidays, government holidays, why not have scientific holidays? Toasting in the name of science is something that many would love to do. However, with none of the eleven federal holidays being related to science, it is time to furrow eyebrows! All is not lost though. Unofficially, there are several days and weeks that are celebrated in the name of science. Here are few days that you could look forward to in 2012 and even beyond, to celebrate as scientific holidays with your geek kids.
May 30th to June 3rd: The World Science Festival
Well, this might seem like a bit of cheating to begin the list of Scientific holidays with something that is not a science holiday per se! But when a week long celebration that began in 2008 unites personalities as acclaimed and diverse as Philip Glass and Neil deGrasse Tyson with thousands of attendee fans and millions of online ones, one has to give it a pride of place. The World Science Festival has been co-founded by Brian Greene, a renowned physicist and Tracy Day, the former producer for ABC News, to cultivate information in the general public about science and make them marvel at its wonder.
April 4th 2016: Square root day
The day set aside for square roots is when the number which corresponds to both the month and day is the square root of the year in question. For the mathematics geeks out there, here are some interesting facts. Consecutive odd number of years fall between successive ‘Square Root Days’ every century and there are only 9 such days every century. So, the next Square Root Day is scheduled for the 4th of April 2016. It will then arrive 9 years after that on 5th of May 2025.
April 20, 2012: DNA Day
James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin unraveled the spiral of the DNA strand and the article about it was published in ‘Nature’ on 25th of April, 1953. And so, 25th of April every year is usually celebrated as DNA day. It has been earmarked as a special day when the students, the teachers and the general public can learn more about genomics and genetics. The U.S. Senate as well as the House of Representatives, declared April as the ‘Human Genome Month’. In 2012, April 20th has been set aside as DNA day.
February 12, 2012: International Darwin Day
February 12th is the birthday of the revolutionary biologist and thinker, Charles Darwin. The day seeks to globally celebrate science, reason and humanity. Science is an international language and has no barriers of any kind. And thus, Darwin Day can be celebrated by official proclamations, civic ceremonies, educational symposia, book discussions, art shows, games and dinner parties. It can be a day to celebrate with academic societies, freethought groups, science organizations, religious congregations, museums, libraries, galleries, teachers and students. In short, it is a day to celebrate the unity in diversity.
October 17, 2012: Hagfish day
Usually, the sweet, cute and beautiful things are celebrated. Very rarely are those that are considered as ‘ugly’ and ‘repugnant’ like the Hagfish celebrated. However, the truth of the matter is that the survival of nature and earth in general depends on all creatures both beautiful and not-so-beautiful. To highlight the conservation of all animals, including the ugly ones, Ruth Musgrave, the director of WhaleTimes.org, in 2009 decided to celebrate the Hagfish Day on the third Wednesday every October. Thus, watch out for 17th October 2012 and make plans to observe the day as a slime-loving pro.
October 23rd 2012: Mole day
6.02×10 to the power 23 atoms or molecules of a substance constitutes a mole of that substance. It was Amedeo Avogadro who found out that those many atoms/molecules constitute the atomic/molecular mass of a substance. That number has become probably the most important figure for any chemistry student or enthusiast. And so, 6:02 am to 6:02 pm on the 23rd day of the 10th month, alluding to the Avogadro number, has been chosen as Mole Day since 1991. Is it any surprise that the eclipses on such days have been called the Molar eclipse?
October 7—13, 2012: National Metric Week
Other than the United States, every other industrialized nation on the face of earth makes use of the metric system. Its use is vital and indispensable in all the scientific studies and systems around the globe. A day in the second week of October which reads 10/10 is picked as the Metric Day while the whole of the week is celebrated as Metric Week. This has been utilized as an opportunity to make the Americans realize the importance, convenience and grandeur of this system of measurement.
March 14, 2012: Pi day
Anything to do with circles has everything to do with ‘pi’ (or π). And when we go into three dimensions, ‘pi’ is needed for all calculations involving a cylinder or sphere. Though it is approximated as 3.14, ‘pi’ has been calculated even to 10 trillion digits, past its decimal point. It has remained an intriguing and intellectual thrill for maths buffs around the world, through the ages. Grab a slice of a juicy pie on the 14th of March ( reminiscent of 3.14) and celebrate ‘Pi Day’ along with the birthday of the genius, Albert Einstein.
April 12, 2012: Yuri’s night
Venturing out into space remains a great adventure even to this day and Yuri Gagarin was the very first to do so on the 12th of April 1961. Commemorating that day, Yuri’s night is celebrated with great merriment and frolic, every 12th of April night since 2001. Space parties that feature films and other shows, are held in major cities over the world and at times, these parties get a bit wild too. The Vostok 1 spaceship that carried Yuri in that historic flight has become famous for its badassery due to this day.
July 22, 2012: Pi Approximation Day
Not everybody would agree to the rationality in the ‘irrationality’ of Pi which is one of the world’s most used constants. A large ‘slice’ of the mathematical population chooses to use the approximation, 22/7, as the value of Pi. And thus, in celebration, we have the Pi Approximation Day which falls on the 22/7 every year. ( No points for guessing why!)