Curated Collections of the Most Useful Facts.

What's This?Curated Facts

Mathematicians have wondered for thousands of years whether the digits in pi are random, Bailey said, and calculating the value of pi to over a trillion places the way Kanada has done is one way of helping scientists search for the elusive answer to that question.

Pi, usually given as 3.14, has an infinite number of decimal places. An extremely precise calculation of the figure isn't necessary for any practical scientific use, but it can help address fundamental questions of mathematics.

Among the most puzzling mysteries: Mathematicians are pretty sure, but still cannot prove conclusively, that the numbers following 3.141592... occur randomly.

Actually, the number π is not even a rational number. That is, it is not exactly equal to a fraction (m/n where m and n are whole numbers) or to any finite or repeating decimal. This fact was first established in the middle of the eighteenth century by the German mathematician, Johann Lambert (1728–1777).

Pi is one of the most fundamental constants in all of mathematics. It is normally first encountered in geometry where it is defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter: π = C/d where C is the circumference and d is the diameter.

Pi (pronounced "pie"; the symbol is ?) is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. Another way of looking at pi is by the area of a circle: pi times the square of the length of the radius, or as it is often phrased "pi r squared."

Because pi is irrational (not equal to the ratio of any two whole numbers), an approximation, such as 22/7, is often used for everyday calculations. To 31 decimal places, pi is 3.1415926535897932384626433832795.

pi, in mathematics, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The symbol π was popularized by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in the early 18th century to represent this ratio

Figuring out pi to much more than about 1,000 decimal places serves little purpose in math or engineering, but researchers say it helps push computing power to a new level and can test the accuracy of supercomputers.

It was used in calculations to build the huge cathedrals of the Renaissance, to find basic Earth measurements, and it has been used to solve a plethora of other mathematical problems throughout the ages. Even today it is used in the calculations of items that surround everyone.

Tommy Sims

21 Knowledge Cards

Recent contests try to see how many decimals of pi can be computed. Although some may think this is pointless, the ability to calculate many digits of pi proves the strenth of supercomputers.