Mathematics has been an exciting and challenging area of study throughout human history. With the passage of time, it has evolved into a sophisticated tool that most people do not even notice its omnipresence in daily lives. Mathematics has a natural elegance and beauty and mathematicians are making lasting contributions by developing models and solution methods in diverse fields including but not limited to physics, computer sciences, machine learning, data sciences, medicine, economics, management, and psychology. With the advancement in information technology and innovation, most of the organizations rely on graduates with advanced mathematical skills.

To celebrate the beauty and importance of mathematics and its essential role in everyone’s life, the International Mathematical Union (IMU) has initiated the project to have UNESCO proclaim March 14 as the International Day of Mathematics (IDM). March 14 is already known as Pi Day and celebrated in many countries across the globe. It is named after the important number Pi (π), the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle and approximately equal to 3.14. Pi is an irrational number, and its decimal representation never ends. All over the world, the IDM celebration expands Pi Day to include the whole spectrum of mathematics.

For IDM, people around the world are invited to celebrate the importance of mathematics through creative activities, fascinated by intriguing public talks and engaged in exciting events.

The IDM logo representing the decimals of π t 3.14159265358979.

Every year, the IDM announces a new theme to flavor the celebration, spark creativity and bring light to connections between mathematics and all other disciplines. The theme for 2020 is “Mathematics is everywhere”. This very broad theme reaches all of the public, regardless of age, with a wide spectrum of messages. It will be presented with some explanations that could be used to stimulate the organizers for building their own examples.

A few examples that indicate how mathematics is everywhere, are given as follows

- The success of Google comes from its brilliant mathematical PageRank algorithm.
- Cryptography for secure communication relies on number theory.
- The decoding of the human genome is a triumph of mathematics, statistics, and computer science.
- Mathematics is behind the software of our smartphones.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning are now transforming the world: for instance, computer vision, automatic translation, autonomous vehicles, etc.
- Medical imaging devices like computed tomography scan (CT-scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measure numerical data and a mathematical algorithm builds an image out of them.
- Cosmology models the evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang until today, and predicts its future.
- Mathematics is used to model global changes and their consequences for biodiversity.
- Mathematics is used to optimize transport and communication networks.
- Mathematics is behind the functioning of GPS.
- Optimization techniques are used in the efficient use of available resources.
- Mathematics is helpful in games of strategy, from backgammon or chess to solving a Rubik’s cube.
- Mathematics inspires artists and musicians: symmetries, fractals, elegant curves and surfaces; patterns, scales, and sounds in music.
- Mathematics helps us understand and control the spread of epidemics.
- Mathematics is essential to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Day of Mathematics (IDM) is a worldwide celebration supported by several international and regional organizations. Therefore, it is our collective responsibility to spread the word about the IDM and celebrate the importance of mathematics not only in the classroom environment but also at different relevant forums such as a library, museum, and research centers.

For creating awareness about the importance of mathematics, and to celebrate the International Day of Mathematics, the department of mathematics, COMSATS University Islamabad, Pakistan has taken the leading role in organizing several activities on March 14, 2020, for the mathematics enthusiast, students and the general public.

*The writer works as an Associate Professor of Mathematics at COMSATS University Islamabad. He can be reached at abdullah_shah@comsats.edu.pk *