Square Root Day

Monday, Feb. 02, 2004


San Jose Mercury News

Ron Gordon is a bit of a square.

The Redwood City high school teacher wants kids to drink root beer out of square-shaped mugs today. He’s encouraging colleagues to tie square knots. And he shipped four pounds of garnet yams, watermelon radishes and other types of roots — cut up into cubes — to a groundhog in Pennsylvania.

All for the sake of celebrating Square Root Day, which happens to be today — 2/2/04.

Square Root Day won’t come around again for another five years, one month and one day. It happens when the numbers representing the month and day both are the square root of the last two digits of the year.

Gordon, who celebrates half-birthdays, may be the only person in the country observing Square Root Day, but he’s trying to attract a national following. He’s hoping he’ll have better luck this time than he did on 9/9/81, the last time he tried to drum up interest. That’s when he realized the special significance of such dates, and — in a bid to share the nugget of knowledge — challenged high schools across the country to see who could form the biggest human square root sign. “Like a marching band on a football field,” Gordon said.

“Hey, math can be fun,” said Gordon, 58. That’s reason enough to celebrate.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

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