# On Exploring a Piece of Pi

I am ashamed to tell you to how many figures I carried these calculations, having no other business at the time. (Isaac Newton; philosopher, astronomer, physicist)

If equations are trains threading the landscape of numbers, then no train stops at pi.
~Richard Preston, journalist

This mysterious 3.141592…, which comes in at every door and window, and down every chimney. It is easier to square the circle than to get round a mathematician. (Augustus De Morgan, mathematician)

Whether any other Mathematician will appear, possessing sufficient leisure, patience, and facility of computation, to calculate the value of pi to a still greater extent, remains to be seen: all that the Author can say is, he takes leave of the subject for the present … (William Shanks, mathematician who spent a great part of his life in huge hand calculations of constants )

Ten decimal places of pi are sufficient to give the circumference of the earth to a fraction of an inch, and thirty decimal places would give the circumference of the visible universe to a quantity imperceptible to the most powerful microscope. (Simon Newcomb, astronomer)

The value of pi has engaged the attention of many mathematicians and calculators from the time of Archimedes to the present day, and has been computed from so many different formulae, that a complete account of its calculation would almost amount to a history of mathematics. ( James Glaisher, meteorologist)

A bell cannot tell time, but it can be moved in just such a way as to say twelve o’clock – similarly, a man cannot calculate infinite numbers, but he can be moved in just such a way as to say pi. (Daniel Tammet, author Thinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our)

## 36 thoughts on “On Exploring a Piece of Pi”

1. It remains a mystery to me! I regard the fact that it is so as just another piece of proof of the mystery of the unknowable ………. you know, that thing that makes life, the universe and everything exist in and around us……. I’m off to watch the final of DWTS – when next we ‘speak’, that particular mystery will be known to me 🙂

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• Pauline,
The universe is a grand thing … and the fact that someone could put this together is a feat in itself! …. let me know what you thought of the DWTS finale.

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• My favourites won Frank – I was so happy! 🙂 I loved watching the progress and process of Noah too – that was quite phenomenal. It was a great season!! Thank you for keeping the news from me. xo

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• Pauline,
Both of the final two were very good. Different styles, but very good. Personally, I leaned toward Riker,

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• Absolutely … either would have been a respectable champion.

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• Patti,
Glad you saw this one because I knew you would like it!

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2. My husband teaches high school math, so pi is a constant at our house. (See what I did there? 🙂 ) Actually not, only for him. Math has always been my worst subject, and our daughters’, too. I remember hearing music based on pi, but I don’t remember if it’s the same one as your clip. Th I wrote a blog post on pi and pie for Pi Day.
I will have to see if my husband knows these quotes. Thanks. Have a great weekend!

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3. From Wikipedia on π :

For most numerical calculations involving π, a handful of digits provide sufficient precision. According to Jörg Arndt and Christoph Haenel, thirty-nine digits are sufficient to perform most cosmological calculations, because that is the accuracy necessary to calculate the volume of the known universe with a precision of one atom.[83] Despite this, people have worked strenuously to compute π to thousands and millions of digits.[84] This effort may be partly ascribed to the human compulsion to break records, and such achievements with π often make headlines around the world.

To misquote the famous Bob Hope,

Thanks for the memory.

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4. The pi pie is making me hungry! Interesting article and video. Have a great weekend, Frank!

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5. Yes, Virginia, there is a God . . . 🙂

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• E-Tom,
We see the wonders of the world in similar light.

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6. I lived for forty three years with a mathematician, so I learned much about the poetic nature of pi. Especially enjoyed the music…..I wonder why they chose to make it a waltz….

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• Cynthia,
Thanks for sharing a personal link to pi. Good question about choosing waltz …Believe it or not, below are two past posts of something similar … a different post on pi and one on tau.

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7. That was really interesting. Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

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• Audra,
LOL … hopefully a library visitor will come to you someday asking if you have any information about waltz music composed by using Pi in base 12.

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8. I remember back in March people kept making an issue of 3/14/15 being pi day and how it would never come around again, but actually when shortened to 4 decimal places pi is 3.1416 since the next number is 9 so they were really a year early on that.

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• LB,
Not only a special day, but just one of the those rare days in the calendar that simply don’t come along all the time. Thanks for sharing.

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9. I had a wonderful slice of blueberry just yesterday.

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10. Given math remains a mystery, despite I use it regularly I loved this one entirely. Thank you.

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• Val,
Your comment made me laugh and smile … .laugh that math being a mystery to you … yet you loved this post … thus I see you as an example of keeping your mind open to learn. 🙂

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11. I’ll stick to simply eating pi(e). 😉

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