15 Pi Day Gifts for the Math Fan in Your Life

iStock/pick-uppath
iStock/pick-uppath

March 14, the mathematic high holiday known as Pi Day, is right around the corner. To celebrate everyone's favorite irrational number, we've rounded up some gifts to help the math aficionados in your life—the ones who know that pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—observe Pi Day in proper fashion.

1. Pi Pie Pan

Pi-shaped pie pan.
Pi People, Amazon

If Pi Day passed and you didn't eat a pi pie, did Pi Day even happen? This specially shaped baking pan makes the equivalent volume of a 9-inch round pan, but obviously has more surface area than a standard pan. Pi puns and extra crust? Sounds like a win-win dessert.

Buy it on Amazon for $25.

2. I Eight Sum Pie Plates

Pair that pi pie with a set of these special plates decorated with a formula that spells out "imaginary unit eight summation pi"—or, essentially, "I ate some pie." Yes please!

Buy them at one of the retailers below:

3. Cutie Pi Unisex Onesie

Baby onesie that says
Threadrock, Etsy

Inspire a love of irrational numbers in the young mathematician-to-be in your life with this adorable cotton onesie, available in five colors for 6- to 24-month-olds.

Buy it on Etsy for $14.

4. Cheat Sheet Shower Curtain

We do our best thinking in the shower, and this machine-washable shower curtain is sure to inspire a stumped mathematician to finally figure out x once and for all.

Buy it on Society6 for $70.

5. Pi Mirrors Pie T-Shirt

Consider this equation: Math puns + affordability = this hilarious gift tee.

Buy it on $6 Dollar Shirts for … $6.

6. Mathematical Glasses

You'll be toasting to a gift well done after they open this set of four pint glasses measuring out the number of ounces in Pythagoras's constant, the Golden Ratio, Euler's number, and of course, pi.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

7. Quantum Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie

The cover of the 'Quantum Physics for Babies' book
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Amazon

It's never too early to get your budding mathematician hooked on STEM! This quantum physics intro is meant for 1- to 3-year-old kids, but it's a good refresher for adults to brush up on their knowledge, too.

Buy it on Amazon for $9.

8. Spiral Pi Tattoo

Spiral Pi tattoo
Anatomology, Amazon

This "classroom pack" of temporary tattoos means that when you and 44 of your closest pi pals practice memorizing pi's numerous digits, you never have to leave home without your cheat sheet.

Buy it on Amazon for $12.

9. Albert Clock

Definitely know your audience before gifting this head-scratcher of a clock. For some, the regular mental exercise to figure out the time will be a welcome brain teaser. For others, it could be a frustrating distraction. But, we think its namesake—it should be relatively easy to figure out which Albert it's referencing—would be a fan.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

10. Insanity Math Leggings

A pair of black leggings with math equations written on them
Insanity, Amazon

Spend your savasana meditating on the wonders of math in these equation-covered leggings.

Buy them on Amazon for $29.

11. Add And Subtract Abacus

Add and Subtract Abacus
Melissa & Doug, Amazon

Ancient calculators make great toys when it comes to this colorful bead toy aimed at kids 2 and up. But once the young ones hit grade school, this specially marked abacus will help them visualize arithmetic while still seeing the equations listed out.

Buy it on Amazon for $15 or at one of the retailers below:

12. Patterns of the Universe Coloring Book

This coloring book takes nature's best mathematical patterns and turns them into a soothing adult coloring book. Take a break from studying math's interconnected worlds, and just connect pencil to paper for a bit.

Buy it at Target for $10 or at one of the retailers below:

13. Pi Sign Cookie Cutters

Pi-shaped cookie cutters
Arbi Design, Amazon

Cookies are certainly easier to bake in bulk than pies. And if our math checks out, that means they will probably last a little longer, too. (Maybe.)

Buy them on Amazon for $5 and up.

14. Marbotic Smart Numbers

A hand moving wooden numbers around on top of a tablet
Marbotic, Amazon

This hands-on math game makes learning arithmetic engaging and entertaining, and can help kids 3 to 6 years old recognize units and solve basic additions and subtractions. These wooden letters come with three free apps that you pair with any iPad and most Samsung and Nexus tablets.

Buy it on Amazon for $40 or at one of the retailers below:

15. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

The cover of 'Hidden Figures'
William Morrow Paperbacks, Amazon

You saw the movie—now delve even deeper into the true stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and the other African-American women who worked at NASA as "human computers" during the Space Race. Margot Lee Shetterly's best-seller reveals just how much ground-breaking work these brilliant mathematicians truly did, even while dealing with both gender discrimination and the Jim Crow era. And if you haven't seen the movie, stream it on HBO or purchase it here.

Buy it on Amazon for $13.

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Bombshell, Victoria’s Secret’s Bestselling Fragrance, Also Happens to Repel Mosquitoes

Dids, Pexels
Dids, Pexels

People love Bombshell, the best-selling fragrance at Victoria’s Secret, for its summery blend of fruity and floral notes. Not everyone is a huge fan, though: As Quartz reports, the perfume is surprisingly good at warding off mosquitoes. In fact, it’s almost as effective as DEET insect repellent, according to the results of a 2014 experiment by researchers at New Mexico State University.

Researchers took 10 products that are commercially available and tested their ability to repel two different species of mosquitoes: the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), both of which are known to transmit diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever. In doing so, volunteers subjected their own flesh to the test by placing their hands on either side of a Y-shaped tube containing the blood-sucking critters. One hand was covered in a synthetic rubber glove, while the other hand was sprayed with one of the products but otherwise left bare. Researchers recorded which tunnel the mosquitoes flew to, and how long they avoided the other end.

Three of the products contained DEET, while four products didn’t. In addition, there were two fragrances (including Bombshell) and one vitamin B1 skin patch. The DEET products were the most effective, but Bombshell proved to be nearly as good, keeping mosquitoes at bay for roughly two hours.

“There was some previous literature that said fruity, floral scents attracted mosquitoes, and to not wear those,” Stacy Rodriquez, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “It was interesting to see that the mosquitoes weren’t actually attracted to the person that was wearing the Victoria’s Secret perfume—they were repelled by it.”

This isn’t the first time a perfume has had an unintended effect on the natural world. It turns out that tigers are obsessed with Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men cologne, partly because it contains a synthetic version of civetone, a pheromone that's secreted by glands located near a civet’s anus. This substance was once used to create musky fragrances, but nowadays the scent is mostly reproduced in a lab. Still, the fake stuff must be pretty convincing, because big cats go crazy when they catch a whiff of it.

[h/t Quartz]

Mystery Solved: Scientists Have Figured Out Why Some Squirrels Are Black

Rena-Marie/iStock via Getty Images
Rena-Marie/iStock via Getty Images

It can be something of a surprise to see an animal sporting a fresh coat of paint. Blue lobsters occasionally surface after being caught in traps. A pink dolphin was spotted in Louisiana in 2007 (and several times since). In the Chinese province of Shaanxi, a cute brown and white panda greets zoo visitors.

Another anomalous animal has joined their ranks. Black squirrels have been spotted in both the United States and the UK, and now scientists believe they know why.

Like many animals with unusual color schemes, black squirrels are the result of a genetic detour. Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge University, and the Virginia Museum of Natural History collaborated on a project that tested squirrel DNA. Their findings, which were published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, demonstrated that the black squirrel is the product of interspecies breeding between the common gray squirrel and the fox squirrel. The black squirrel is actually a gray squirrel with a faulty pigment gene carried over from the fox squirrel that turns their fur a darker shade. (Some fox squirrels, which are usually reddish-brown, are also black.)

A black squirrel is pictured
sanches12/iStock via Getty Images

Scientists theorize a black fox squirrel may have joined in on a mating chase involving gray squirrels and got busy with a female. The black fur may offer benefits in colder regions, with squirrels able to absorb and retain more heat, giving them a slight evolutionary edge.

In North America, black squirrels are uncommon, with one estimate putting them at a rate of one in every 10,000 squirrels. In 1961, students at Kent State University in Ohio released 10 black squirrels that had been captured by Canadian wildlife authorities. The squirrels now populate the campus and have become the school’s unofficial mascot. Their coloring might help them hide from predators, which might come in handy at Kent State: The campus is also home to hawks.

[h/t The Guardian]

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