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  • Science & the Public

    Forget Pi Day. We should be celebrating Tau Day

    As a physics reporter and lover of mathematics, I won’t be celebrating Pi Day this year. That’s because pi is wrong.

    I don’t mean that the value is incorrect. Pi, known by the symbol π, is the number you get when you divide a circle’s circumference by its diameter: 3.14159… and so on without end. But, as some mathematicians have argued, the mathematical constant was poorly chosen, and...

    03/14/2018 - 11:30 Numbers
  • News

    Pi master’s storied recall

    As the March 14 celebration of Pi Day approaches, toast a man who figured out how to have his pi and recite it, too — beyond 60,000 decimals. All it took was intensive practice and a knack for storytelling, a new study finds.

    A Chinese man who set a world’s record in 2005 by reciting 67,890 decimals of pi learned to associate number pairs with images of people and objects, scientists...

    03/13/2012 - 17:07 Psychology
  • Math Trek

    Squaring Circles

    There's no telling where thoughts about a seemingly simple, even trivial, question may lead.

    Consider the problem of turning a circle into a square. Cut a circle out of a sheet of paper. Then cut the circle into pieces so that the pieces, when fitted back together, form a square having the same area as the original circle.

    The task seems impossible: How do you get rid of the curves...

    10/26/2004 - 17:53 Numbers
  • Feature

    Math Lab

    Many people regard mathematics as the crown jewel of the sciences. Yet math has historically lacked one of the defining trappings of science: laboratory equipment. Physicists have their particle accelerators; biologists, their electron microscopes; and astronomers, their telescopes. Mathematics, by contrast, concerns not the physical landscape but an idealized, abstract world. For exploring...

    04/20/2004 - 21:33 Numbers
  • Math Trek

    A Trillion Pieces of Pi

    The number pi (p) represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Starting with 3.1415926535897932384. . ., its digits run on forever. That hasn't stopped researchers from trying to calculate as many of those digits as computer technology and mathematical methods allow.

    Computer scientist Yasumasa Kanada and his coworkers at the University of Tokyo Information...

    12/10/2002 - 14:55 Numbers
  • Feature

    Pi à la Mode

    Memorizing the digits of pi–the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter–presents a hefty challenge to anyone undertaking that quixotic exercise. Starting with 3.14159265, the decimal digits of pi run on forever, and there is no discernible pattern to ease the task.

    The apparent randomness of pi's digits has long intrigued mathematician David H. Bailey of...

    08/28/2001 - 15:29 Numbers
  • Feature

    A New Formula for Picking off Pieces of Pi

    10/28/1995 - 00:00
  • Feature

    A Billion Digits of Pi

    09/09/1989 - 00:00
  • Feature

    Millions of Digits of Pi

    02/08/1986 - 00:00
  • Feature

    Memory Rime

    11/13/1926 - 00:00