Science Articles

Fascinating Facts About The Number Pi

i is the most recognized mathematical constant in the world. Mathematicians often consider Pi as the most important and intriguing number in all of mathematics.

Pi is the most recognized mathematical constant in the world. Mathematicians often consider Pi as the most important and intriguing number in all of mathematics. We all know Pi as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But there are fascinating facets to Pi that add mystical dimensions to the already intriguing number. Read on to find out more-

  • Pi is an irrational number. This means that its digits go on forever in a seemingly random sequence. Therefore, pi is an infinitely long, non-repeating decimal, making it one of the most interesting and mysterious numbers known to man.
  • Computing pi is a stress test for a computer—a kind of “digital cardiogram.”
  • In 2002, a Japanese scientist found 1.24 trillion digits of pi using a powerful computer called the Hitachi SR 8000, breaking all previous records.
  • Egyptologists and followers of mysticism have been fascinated for centuries by the fact that the Great Pyramid at Giza seems to approximate pi. The vertical height of the pyramid has the same relationship to the perimeter of its base as the radius of a circle has to its circumference.
  • We can never truly measure the circumference or the area of a circle because we can never truly know the value of pi.
  • The first six digits of pi (314159) appear in order at least six times among the first 10 million decimal places of pi.
  • Pi has been studied by the human race for almost 4,000 years. By 2000 B.C., Babylonians established the constant circle ratio as 3-1/8 or 3.125. The ancient Egyptians arrived at a slightly different value of 3-1/7 or 3.143.
  • Pi plays a prominent role in navigation, especially when it comes to large-scale global positioning and GPS. NASA uses Pi prominently in its complex space-related calculations. Most of them involving pi use 15 or 16 digits, especially when super-precise calculations are required for the Space Integrated Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (SIGI)—the program that controls and stabilizes spacecraft during missions.
  • Pi manifests itself throughout the universe and is indeed involved in the very equations that seek to explain the nature of the cosmos. In fact, many formulas used in the realm of quantum mechanics, which governs the microscopic world of atoms and nuclei, use pi.
  • Pi has a fascinating and unexpected relationship to meandering rivers. A river’s path is mostly described by its sinuosity—its tendency to wind from side to side as it traverses a plain. This can be described mathematically as the length of its winding path divided by the length of the river from its source to its mouth. It turns out that regardless of the river’s