Friday, 6 September 2013

You need to know at least 42 digits of pi to calculate the circumference of the universe!

The number of pi is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to it's diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159.

It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes written as “pi”. For thousands of years, mathematicians have attempted to extend their understanding of pi, sometimes by computing it's value to a high degree of accuracy.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, mathematicians and computer scientists discovered new approaches that- when combined with increasing computational power – extended the decimal representation of pi to, as of late 2011, over 10 trillion digits!

However, only a handful of digits are needed for most applications – only 11 decimal places are needed to calculate the circumference of the Earth to a millimeters, while only 42 are needed to find the circumference of a circle the size of the entire universe to within less than the diameter of a single proton!

So learn pi!

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