Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 10
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
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“Geek Freak” Weekend Promises Celebration Of Town and Gown, Math, Science and Einstein

Dilshanie Perera

Don’t be surprised if you see Einstein strolling around Princeton this weekend.

What began last year as a one-day homage to Princeton’s most famous resident has turned into a weekend celebration of math, science, and Albert Einstein, with events beginning on Friday, March 11, and continuing through Monday, March 14.

Since Pi Day, or 3.14, is also the day Einstein was born, Pi Day Princeton co-founders Mimi Omiecinski and Joy Chen decided to see whether the public library might be amenable to hosting a few events. “Last year, it was a cute idea, but we had no idea how many people would show up,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “It was 1,700 people during a hurricane!”

Taking the local enthusiasm for Einstein as an indicator that the event could grow, the two women created Pi Day Princeton LLC and went to work to “make a great weekend for Princeton” and simultaneously have an “online worldwide celebration” of Einstein at their website

“We’re surrounded by Nobel Prize Winners … we live in genius country,” Ms. Omiecinski said, adding that “Princeton is really the Disney of academics.” Part of the weekend involves “getting people to realize what is in our backyard.”

Both Ms. Chen and Ms. Omiecinski are local business owners, the heads of JOYcards and Princeton Tour Company, respectively. In addition to local educational institutions, non-profit institutions, and residents getting involved, a number of local businesses have also joined in the Pi celebration, offering discounts of 3.14 or 31.4 percent at their stores or fixed menu prices for $31.40.

In addition to reenactors and Einstein look-alikes walking through the downtown and shopping center and stopping by stores, various weekend events will occur throughout town, a small sampling of which is below. For a full list, visit

A curator’s tour of the Einstein Exhibit at the Historical Society of Princeton will happen from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, with the YWCA to hold a “No Socks Sock Hop” dance from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Saturday in honor of Einstein’s dislike of wearing socks. Sunday brings with it an 11 a.m. pie eating contest at McCaffery’s, Dinky Train rides with Einstein from 12:05 to 1:16, a pi recitation contest at the Public Library at 1 p.m., and a pie throwing event at the Palmer Square green at 3:14 p.m.

Proceeds from the pie throwing will go to the Math Department at John Witherspoon Middle School. JW students will also participate in a “Mathletic” competition, solving math problems and competing for a prize of $314. The youngest pi recitation winner will also receive the same amount. Additionally, nationally recognized food critics will judge pies made by local chefs, with recipes provided by local residents.

“What I love about this story is that this is exactly what Einstein would have loved —  everybody working together,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “It really is a celebration of this special town that Einstein called paradise.”

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