In a world awash with horrible news, we feel a little guilty sharing anything on the bright side, especially when it’s centered around events that may seem otherwise trivial. But here goes.
First, a follow up on the exhibit mounted by Hopewell landscape architect David Fierabend at the Philadelphia Flower Show (U.S. 1, March 2). Fierabend’s Hopewell-based company, Groundswell Design Group, debuted at the show with a 24 by 40-foot exhibit, Monet’s Allee, inspired by Monet’s gardens at Giverny and the parks of Paris. The exhibit won the show’s People’s Choice Award.
Jamie Saxon, who wrote the story on Fierabend, visited the flower show to see the exhibit firsthand. Upon arrival she was informed by a professional host/greeter who was flown out from LA just for the event that the exhibit had been packed with admirers from the get-go. One admirer took advantage of the bucolic setting and got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend — who accepted, and another visitor asked his girlfriend to the prom — and she accepted.
Meanwhile, closer to home, a follow-up to our coverage of the second annual Pi Day celebration, commemorating Albert Einstein’s Princeton legacy.
This year, because Einstein’s birthday, March 14, fell on a Monday, organizers Mimi Omiecinski and Joy Chen expanded the event to Geek Freak Weekend. Omiecinski estimates that more than 3,000 visitors came to town to participate in activities that ranged from pie-throwing to science workshops to contests for who could recite the most decimal places of the infinitely long value of pi — 3.14159 etc. (The winner in the children’s division was Gareth Conway, who had correctly memorized 315 digits. The adult winner, Brian Stephens of Yardley, PA. (whose daughter also competed) recited the value of pi to an amazing 1,371 digits.
The idea floated last week by U.S. 1’s Richard K. Rein, that the event be transformed into a “Geek Week” centered around March 14 and celebrating the intellectual capital of the town — from math and science to literary and political — was not lost on Omiecinski. Even as this year’s event was unfolding, Omiecinski and her crew were looking forward to next year.
How about a lecture by a science historian describing Einstein’s famous formula, E=MC2, and its implications. Maybe a renowned scientist could be invited to town to present a Geek Week lecture. Why not? Already in Princeton the town is turned upside down for a week or so as Princeton alumni celebrate their reunions and matriculate a new class of graduates. In other college towns throughout the country this week (and for a lucky few, the next several weeks) the celebrations will focus on college basketball.
So why shouldn’t Princeton shine some light on the intellectual history that makes this town exceptional. And somewhere there may be a kid who comes to town to see what the fuss is all about and walks away excited about nuclear physics or quantum math or — just maybe, thinking back to the world news that lingers overhead like a dark cloud — about a national energy policy that reduces the risks that we currently face.