According to Albert Einstein, “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” To celebrate the delight and beauty of math, the COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) SIAM Student Chapter organized an event in honor of the International Day of Mathematics on March 14, 2023 (Pi Day).
The chapter prepared a variety of activities that included a scavenger hunt, “meme war,” and mathematical modeling contest. The scavenger hunt took place before the official start of the event and attracted nearly 20 participants who explored numbers, patterns, and puzzles while sharpening their problem-solving skills and embracing the joy of math. A series of clues led students through the steps of an exciting treasure hunt. The winning group—who called themselves “The Calculators”—consisted of Nimra Yousaf, Amama Fatima, Noor Fatima, and Areeba Salahuddin.
For the meme war, students created math-based memes ahead of the celebration that were then shared via the CUI SIAM Student Chapter’s official Instagram page. Followers voted on their favorite posts the day before the event, and Zubair Ahmed—a third-year undergraduate student—won the competition with the most popular meme.
The daylong celebration occurred in the basement of CUI’s Junaid Zaidi Library. Yousaf (head of the chapter’s content team) and Mohsin Aziz (a chapter volunteer) introduced the International Day of Mathematics, after which Mujtaba Habib (the chapter’s vice president) led the recitation of the Holy Quran.
Once the chapter shared the collection of mathematical memes from the previous day, members acknowledged Abdullah Shah — an associate professor at CUI and founder and faculty advisor of the CUI SIAM Student Chapter. He worked hard to establish the first SIAM student chapter in Pakistan and continued to perfect the group after its inauguration in December 2021.
Following a series of pattern-based riddles and puzzles, the mathematical modeling contest commenced. The competition recognized modeling as a powerful tool that helps scientists understand, predict, and optimize complex systems. During the contest, competitors explained difficult problems with societal impacts to the audience in an understandable manner. Fourth-year student Fatima Sehar won the challenge with her excellent commentary.
The event’s main lecturer was Salman Amin, an assistant professor at CUI, who detailed the importance of mathematics in everyday life and explained the need to celebrate this subject — both during the International Day of Mathematics as well as all year round. Next, CUI assistant professor Zaigham Zia took the stage. He discussed mathematics’ many applications to important real-world problems and motivated the students to continue bringing new formulas and ideas to the field.
After Zia’s talk, Sohail Iqbal—an assistant professor at CUI who also helped to establish the CUI SIAM Student Chapter—spoke to the crowd. He praised the CUI students’ efforts to organize and execute the special celebration in honor of the International Day of Mathematics and wished everyone a “Happy Pi Day.” The chapter is extremely grateful for his guidance and assistance during the planning processes for all activities.
Amin, Zia, and Iqbal concluded the gathering with an awards ceremony during which they distributed certificates and prize money to the winners of the scavenger hunt, meme war, and modeling contest. Overall, the event was a fun and successful day for all attendees. The CUI SIAM Student Chapter is incredibly lucky to receive continuous support from CUI faculty. We aim to provide an open platform for students to network and share ideas, and intend to hold more such events in the future.