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Yellow Pig Day

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yellow Pig Day

When always July 17th

Yellow Pig Day is a mathematician's holiday celebrating yellow pigs (is there such a thing!?!), and the number 17. It is celebrated annually since the early 1960's, primarily on college campuses, and primarily by mathematicians. On campus, Yellow Pig Cake and Yellow Pig Carols are tradition!

If you are a mathematician, spend part of the day thinking and working in multiples of 17. And, while you do so, give a little thought to yellow pigs.

Origin of Yellow Pig Day:

The Yellow Pig was the brainstorm of mathematicians Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly in the early 1960's. They were students at Princeton University, studying mathematics. History was made as they were listing interesting properties of the number 17 (can you imagine the interesting properties!?). During this thought wave, the yellow pig was born. Most likely, it had 17 toes, 17 teeth, 17 eyelashes, etc. The yellow pig and the number 17 have been linked ever since.

This Day in History July 17

Twelve inhabitants of Scillium in North Africa are executed for being Christians. This is the earliest record of Christianity in that part of the world. (180)

Hundred Years' war – Charles VII of France is crowned the King of France in the Reims Cathedral after a successful campaign by Joan of Arc. (1429)

Battle of Castillon: The last battle of Hundred Years' War, the The French under Jean Bureau defeat the English under the Earl of Shrewsbury, who is killed in the battle in Gascony. (1453)

Bloody Falls Massacre: Chipewyan chief Matonabbee, traveling as the guide to Samuel Hearne on his Arctic overland journey, massacres a group of unsuspecting Inuit. (1771)

The Great Train Wreck of 1856 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, kills over 60 people. (1856)

The air conditioner was invented. (1902)

Harvard School of Dental Medicine was established in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the first dental school in the U.S. that was affiliated with a university. (1867)

King George V issues a Proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family will bear the surname Windsor. (1917)

The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; 5 lives are lost. (1918)

After successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Lithuanian research aircraft Lituanica crashes in Europe under mysterious circumstances. (1933)

Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the "wrong way" to Ireland and becomes known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan. (1938)

Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California, killing 320. (1944)

World War II: Napalm incendiary bombs are dropped for the first time by American P-38 pilots on a fuel depot at Coutances, near Saint-Lô, France. (1944)

World War II: the leaders of the three Allied nations, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany. (1945)

Disneyland is dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California. (1955)

Nuclear weapons testing: The "Small Boy" test shot Little Feller I becomes the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada National Security Site. (1962)

Apollo–Soyuz Test Project: An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations. (1975)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    never heard of it prior to today
    1768 days ago
    never heard of it prior to today
    1768 days ago
    An interesting day in history. The number 17 seems too big to have any significance. 3, 5, 7 yes; 17 no.

    Thanks for the tidbits in the "This Day in History" section.

    Disneyland is dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California. (1955)

    The pictures from the original Disneyland look so different than what is there today.
    from the LA Times Photo Archives

    Disneyland on Opening Day - July 17th, 1955
    1768 days ago
    Thanks for the good information!
    1768 days ago
  • PMAY0313
    A/C rocks!
    1768 days ago
    1768 days ago
    Never heard of the yellow pig but I am not a mathematician either. Very thankful for the air conditioner as our temps are reaching the upper 90's heading for 100's.
    1768 days ago
    1768 days ago
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