pi

() pronunciation
n.
  1. (also ) The 16th letter of the Greek alphabet.
  2. Mathematics. A transcendental number, approximately 3.14159, represented by the symbol π, that expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle and appears as a constant in many mathematical expressions.

[Late Greek , from Greek pei, of Phoenician origin.]



Variant: π

The ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter; π=3.141 592 65....




In mathematics, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. An irrational number ( transcendental number), it has an approximate value of 3.14, but its exact value must be represented by a symbol, the Greek letter . Pi is used in calculations involving lengths, areas, and volumes of circles, spheres, cylinders, and cones. It also arises frequently in problems dealing with certain periodic phenomena (e.g., motion of pendulums, alternating electric currents). By the end of the 20th century, computers had calculated pi to more than 200 billion decimal places.

For more information on pi, visit Britannica.com.

It is surprising, but many college students when asked which is greater, 3.14 or 22/7, will say that the two numbers are the same. That is because they think that both numbers are the same as the number π. Neither number is actually π. Since the decimal expansion of 22/7 starts off 3.1428571 ... it is the greater number.

There is some evidence that the ancient Hebrews and Babylonians were even less accurate than today's college students. In the Bible (I Kings 7:23) we learn of the model of a sea made by Hiram of Tyre for King Solomon: "it was round, ten cubits from brim to brim. and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference." The implication is that π is 3, since π is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. There is some evidence that Babylonian mathematicians used a better value for π, namely 3.125.

It was clear to the ancient Greeks and Chinese that one could get a good approximation of π by comparing a circle to the straight-sided figure that is approximately a circle, a regular polygon with many sides. It is relatively easy to find the length of the perimeter of such a regular polygon if you know the distance from the polygon's center to one of its sides or to one of its vertices. Using this method, Archimedes calculated that π is between 310/71 and 310/70 (22/7), while Chinese scholars around 500 ce showed that π is between 3.14152927 and 3.1415926. In 1596 Ludolph of Cologne used this method to calculate π to 32 places. His result was engraved on his tombstone and to this day Germans call π the Ludolphine number.

Although everyone knew that these values for π were not exact (since they were based on perimeters of polygons, not the circumference of a circle), it was not clear whether an exact value could be found. Around the time of Ludolph, the algebraist Vieta developed the first simple numerical expression for π. It was not expressed as a decimal numeral or as a fraction, however. It was an infinite product. Later mathematicians also found other infinite products and infinite series (sums) for π. Two with especially easy patterns are actually for π/2 and π/4. In the 17th century John Wallis discovered π/2 = 2/1 × 2/3 × 4/3 × 4/5 × 6/5 × 6/7 × ...; in which the numerators are the even numbers from 2 given twice, while the denominators are a similar pattern of odd numbers. James Gregory and Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz discovered an even simpler pattern for an infinite sum: π/4 = 1/1 - 1/3 + 1/5 - 1/7 + 1/9 -1/11 +.... This pattern is known as the Leibniz series, although Gregory was the first to find it. Note that these patterns carried to infinity yield exact values for π, but they still do not tell whether π can be expressed as a finite decimal. Many infinite products and series converge to finite decimals.

These infinite products and series, and others like them, however, provided an easier way to compute approximations to π than using polygons. At the end of the 17th century, Abraham Sharp found 71 decimal places. In the 19th century, π was gradually extended, reaching 707 places in the calculation of William Shanks in 1853 that took him 15 years to complete. When computers were invented, however, it was found that Shanks had made a mistake in the 528th place, causing every place afterward to be wrong.

In the meantime, in the 18th century, Johann Lambert finally solved one of the problems connected with π. He showed that π is irrational; in other words, it cannot be expressed as a finite decimal, nor can it have a simple repeating pattern as a decimal.

A related problem was still unsolved. Since the time of Anaxagoras at least, in the fifth century bce, people had been trying to use a straightedge and compass to construct a square the same area as a given circle. By 1775 the ranks of people trying to solve this famous problem were so great that the Academy of Paris passed a resolution that it could no longer examine purported successes.

This problem was effectively solved in 1882, when the mathematician Ferdinand Lindemann showed that π is a member of a large class of numbers of which only a few are commonly known. These numbers are called transcendental. There are more of them than of any of the more familiar numbers. Their defining characteristic is that they are not the solutions to algebraic equations with integer coefficients. Constructing a line with a straightedge and compass implies that its length is the solution to such an equation. Since π is transcendental, it cannot be that kind of solution. Squaring the circle is impossible.

This did not stop people from calculating the value of π to more and more decimal places. When electronic computers became available in the 1940s and 1950s, some people used the calculation of π as a kind of demonstration of how powerful these computers were. By 1949, in 70 hours of computer time (as opposed to Shanks's 15 years of paper-and-pencil time), π was extended to 2037 places. By 1988 Japanese computer scientist Yasumasa Kanada had reached 201,326,000 decimal places. The 1988 computation only took six hours of supercomputer time. In 2002 Kanada and fellow researchers at Japan's Information Technology Center set a new record for finding the number of digits of π--1.24 trillion decimal places. This calculation took about 602 hours.

pi, in mathematics, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The symbol for pi is π. The ratio is the same for all circles and is approximately 3.1416. It is of great importance in mathematics not only in the measurement of the circle but also in more advanced mathematics in connection with such topics as continued fractions, logarithms of imaginary numbers, and periodic functions. Throughout the ages progressively more accurate values have been found for π; an early value was the Greek approximation 31/7, found by considering the circle as the limit of a series of regular polygons with an increasing number of sides inscribed in the circle. About the mid-19th cent. its value was figured to 707 decimal places and by the mid-20th cent. an electronic computer had calculated it to 100,000 digits. Although it has now been calculated to some 2.6 trillion digits, the exact value of π cannot be computed. It was shown by the German mathematician Johann Lambert in 1770 that π is irrational and by Ferdinand Lindemann in 1882 that π is transcendental; i.e., cannot be the root of any algebraic equation with rational coefficients. The important connection between π and e, the base of natural logarithms, was found by Leonhard Euler in the famous formula eiπ=−1, where i=√−1.


(peye)

The irrational number obtained by dividing the length of the diameter of a circle into its circumference. Pi is approximately 3.1416. The sign for pi is π.

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The number π (/p/) is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its 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. π is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of two integers (such as 22/7 or other fractions that are commonly used to approximate π); consequently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. The digits appear to be randomly distributed, although no proof of this has yet been discovered. π is a transcendental number – a number that is not the root of any nonzero polynomial having rational coefficients. The transcendence of π implies that it is impossible to solve the ancient challenge of squaring the circle with a compass and straight-edge.

For thousands of years, mathematicians have attempted to extend their understanding of π, sometimes by computing its value to a high degree of accuracy. Before the 15th century, mathematicians such as Archimedes and Liu Hui used geometrical techniques, based on polygons, to estimate the value of π. Starting around the 15th century, new algorithms based on infinite series revolutionized the computation of π, and were used by mathematicians including Madhava of Sangamagrama, Isaac Newton, Leonhard Euler, Carl Friedrich Gauss, and Srinivasa Ramanujan.

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 π to, as of late 2011, over 10 trillion (1013) digits. Scientific applications generally require no more than 40 digits of π, so the primary motivation for these computations is the human desire to break records, but the extensive calculations involved have been used to test supercomputers and high-precision multiplication algorithms.

Because its definition relates to the circle, π is found in many formulae in trigonometry and geometry, especially those concerning circles, ellipses, or spheres. It is also found in formulae from other branches of science, such as cosmology, number theory, statistics, fractals, thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism. The ubiquitous nature of π makes it one of the most widely known mathematical constants, both inside and outside the scientific community: Several books devoted to it have been published; the number is celebrated on Pi Day; and news headlines often contain reports about record-setting calculations of the digits of π. Several people have endeavored to memorize the value of π with increasing precision, leading to records of over 67,000 digits.

Fundamentals

Definition

A diagram of a circle, with the width labeled as diameter, and the perimeter labeled as circumference
The circumference of a circle is slightly more than three times as long as its diameter. The exact ratio is called π.

π is commonly defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference C to its diameter d:[1]

 \pi = \frac{C}{d}

The ratio C/d is constant, regardless of the circle's size. For example, if a circle has twice the diameter of another circle it will also have twice the circumference, preserving the ratio C/d. This definition of π is not universal, because it is valid only in flat (Euclidean) geometry; it is not valid in curved (non-Euclidean) geometries.[1] For this reason, some mathematicians prefer definitions of π based on calculus or trigonometry that do not rely on the circle. One such definition is: π is twice the smallest positive x for which cos(x) equals 0.[1][2]

Name

Leonhard Euler popularized the use of the Greek letter π in works he published in 1736 and 1748.

The symbol used by mathematicians to represent the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is the Greek letter π. That letter (and therefore the number π itself) can be denoted by the Latin word pi.[3] In English, π is pronounced as "pie" ( /p/, /ˈpaɪ/).[4] The lower-case letter π (or π in sans-serif font) is not to be confused with the capital letter Π, which denotes a product of a sequence.

The earliest known use of the Greek letter π to represent the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter was by mathematician William Jones in his 1706 work Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos; or, a New Introduction to the Mathematics.[5] The Greek letter first appears there in the phrase "1/2 Periphery (π)" in the discussion of a circle with radius one. Jones may have chosen π because it was the first letter in the Greek spelling of the word periphery.[6] However, he writes that his equations for π are from the "ready pen of the truly ingenious Mr. John Machin", leading to speculation that Machin may have employed the Greek letter before Jones.[7] It had indeed been used earlier for geometric concepts.[7] William Oughtred used π and δ, the Greek letter equivalents of p and d, to express ratios of periphery and diameter in the 1647 and later editions of Clavis Mathematicae.

After Jones introduced the Greek letter in 1706, it was not adopted by other mathematicians until Euler started using it, beginning with his 1736 work Mechanica. Before then, mathematicians sometimes used letters such as c or p instead.[7] Because Euler corresponded heavily with other mathematicians in Europe, the use of the Greek letter spread rapidly.[7] In 1748, Euler used π in his widely read work Introductio in analysin infinitorum (he wrote: "for the sake of brevity we will write this number as π; thus π is equal to half the circumference of a circle of radius 1") and the practice was universally adopted thereafter in the Western world.[7]

Properties

π is an irrational number, meaning that it cannot be written as the ratio of two integers, such as 22/7 or other fractions that are commonly used to approximate π.[8] Since π is irrational, it has an infinite number of digits in its decimal representation, and it does not end with an infinitely repeating pattern of digits. There are several proofs that π is irrational; they generally require calculus and rely on the reductio ad absurdum technique. The degree to which π can be approximated by rational numbers (called the irrationality measure) is not precisely known; estimates have established that the irrationality measure is larger than the measure of e or ln(2), but smaller than the measure of Liouville numbers.[9]

A diagram of a square and circle, both with identical area; the length of the side of the square is the square root of pi
Because π is a transcendental number, squaring the circle is not possible in a finite number of steps using the classical tools of compass and straightedge.

π is a transcendental number, which means that it is not the solution of any non-constant polynomial with rational coefficients, such as \scriptstyle \frac{x^5}{120}\,-\,\frac{x^3}{6}\,+\,x\,=\,0.[10][11] The transcendence of π has two important consequences: First, π cannot be expressed using any combination of rational numbers and square roots or n-th roots such as \scriptstyle \sqrt[3]{31} or \scriptstyle \sqrt[2]{10}. Second, since no transcendental number can be constructed with compass and straightedge, it is not possible to "square the circle". In other words, it is impossible to construct, using compass and straightedge alone, a square whose area is equal to the area of a given circle.[12] Squaring a circle was one of the important geometry problems of the classical antiquity.[13] Amateur mathematicians in modern times have sometimes attempted to square the circle, and sometimes claim success, despite the fact that it is impossible.[14]

The digits of π have no apparent pattern and pass tests for statistical randomness including tests for normality; a number of infinite length is called normal when all possible sequences of digits (of any given length) appear equally often.[15] The hypothesis that π is normal has not been proven or disproven.[15] Since the advent of computers, a large number of digits of π have been available on which to perform statistical analysis. Yasumasa Kanada has performed detailed statistical analyses on the decimal digits of π, and found them consistent with normality; for example, the frequency of the ten digits 0 to 9 were subjected to statistical significance tests, and no evidence of a pattern was found.[16] Despite the fact that π's digits pass statistical tests for randomness, π contains some sequences of digits that may appear non-random to non-mathematicians, such as the Feynman point, which is a sequence of six consecutive 9s that begins at the 762nd decimal place of the decimal representation of π.[17]

Continued fractions

A photograph of the Greek letter pi, created as a large stone mosaic embedded in the ground.
The constant π is represented in this mosaic outside the mathematics building at the Technische Universität Berlin.

Like all irrational numbers, π cannot be represented as a simple fraction. But every irrational number, including π, can be represented by an infinite series of nested fractions, called a continued fraction:


\pi=3+\textstyle \frac{1}{7+\textstyle \frac{1}{15+\textstyle \frac{1}{1+\textstyle \frac{1}{292+\textstyle \frac{1}{1+\textstyle \frac{1}{1+\textstyle \frac{1}{1+\ddots}}}}}}}

OEISA001203

Truncating the continued fraction at any point generates a fraction that provides an approximation for π; two such fractions (22/7 and 355/113) have been used historically to approximate the constant. Each approximation generated in this way is a best rational approximation; that is, each is closer to π than any other fraction with the same or a smaller denominator.[18] Although the simple continued fraction for π (shown above) does not exhibit a pattern,[19] mathematicians have discovered several generalized continued fractions that do, such as:[20]

\pi=\textstyle \cfrac{4}{1+\textstyle \frac{1^2}{2+\textstyle \frac{3^2}{2+\textstyle \frac{5^2}{2+\textstyle \frac{7^2}{2+\textstyle \frac{9^2}{2+\ddots}}}}}}
=3+\textstyle \frac{1^2}{6+\textstyle \frac{3^2}{6+\textstyle \frac{5^2}{6+\textstyle \frac{7^2}{6+\textstyle \frac{9^2}{6+\ddots}}}}}
=\textstyle \cfrac{4}{1+\textstyle \frac{1^2}{3+\textstyle \frac{2^2}{5+\textstyle \frac{3^2}{7+\textstyle \frac{4^2}{9+\ddots}}}}}

Approximate value

Some approximations of π include:

  • Fractions: Approximate fractions include (in order of increasing accuracy) 22/7, 333/106, 355/113, 52163/16604, and 103993/33102.[18]
  • Decimal: The first 100 decimal digits are 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510 58209 74944 59230 78164 06286 20899 86280 34825 34211 70679 ....[21] OEISA000796
  • Binary: 11.001001000011111101101010100010001000010110100011 ....
  • Hexadecimal: The base 16 approximation to 20 digits is 3.243F6A8885A308D31319 ....[22]
  • Sexagesimal: A base 60 approximation is 3:8:29:44:1

History

Antiquity

The Great Pyramid at Giza, constructed c. 2589–2566 BC, was built with a perimeter of about 1760 cubits and a height of about 280 cubits; the ratio 1760/280 ≈ 6.2857 is approximately equal to 2π ≈ 6.2832. Based on this ratio, some Egyptologists concluded that the pyramid builders had knowledge of π and deliberately designed the pyramid to incorporate the proportions of a circle.[23] Others maintain that the suggested relationship to π is merely a coincidence, because there is no evidence that the pyramid builders had any knowledge of π, and because the dimensions of the pyramid are based on other factors.[24]

The earliest written approximations of π are found in Egypt and Babylon, both within 1 percent of the true value. In Babylon, a clay tablet dated 1900–1600 BC has a geometrical statement that, by implication, treats π as 25/8 = 3.1250.[25] In Egypt, the Rhind Papyrus, dated around 1650 BC, but copied from a document dated to 1850 BC has a formula for the area of a circle that treats π as (16/9)2 ≈ 3.1605.[25]

In India around 600 BC, the Shulba Sutras (Sanskrit texts that are rich in mathematical contents) treat π as (9785/5568)2 ≈ 3.088.[26] In 150 BC, or perhaps earlier, Indian sources treat π as \scriptstyle \sqrt{10} ≈ 3.1622.[27]

Two verses in the Hebrew Bible (written between the 8th and 3rd centuries BC) describe a ceremonial pool in the Temple of Solomon with a diameter of ten cubits and a circumference of thirty cubits; the verses imply π is about three if the pool is circular.[28][29] Rabbi Nehemiah explained the discrepancy as being due to the thickness of the vessel. His early work of geometry, Mishnat ha-Middot, was written around 150 AD and takes the value of π to be three and one seventh.[30] See Approximations of π#Imputed biblical value.

Polygon approximation era

diagram of a hexagon and pentagon circumscribed outside a circle
π can be estimated by computing the perimeters of circumscribed and inscribed polygons.

The first recorded algorithm for rigorously calculating the value of π was a geometrical approach using polygons, devised around 250 BC by the Greek mathematician Archimedes.[31] This polygonal algorithm dominated for over 1,000 years, and as a result π is sometimes referred to as "Archimedes' constant".[32] Archimedes computed upper and lower bounds of π by drawing a regular hexagon inside and outside a circle, and successively doubling the number of sides until he reached a 96-sided regular polygon. By calculating the perimeters of these polygons, he proved that 223/71 < π < 22/7 (3.1408 < π < 3.1429).[33] Archimedes' upper bound of 22/7 may have led to a widespread popular belief that π is equal to 22/7.[34] Around 150 AD, Greek-Roman scientist Ptolemy, in his Almagest, gave a value for π of 3.1416, which he may have obtained from Archimedes or from Apollonius of Perga.[35] Mathematicians using polygonal algorithms reached 39 digits of π in 1630, a record only broken in 1699 when infinite series were used to reach 71 digits.[36]

A painting of a man studying
Archimedes developed the polygonal approach to approximating π.

In ancient China, values for π included 3.1547 (around 1 AD), \scriptstyle \sqrt{10} (100 AD, approximately 3.1623), and 142/45 (3rd century, approximately 3.1556).[37] Around 265 AD, the Wei Kingdom mathematician Liu Hui created a polygon-based iterative algorithm and used it with a 3,072-sided polygon to obtain a value of π of 3.1416.[38][39] Liu later invented a faster method of calculating π and obtained a value of 3.14 with a 96-sided polygon, by taking advantage of the fact that the differences in area of successive polygons form a geometric series with a factor of 4.[38] The Chinese mathematician Zu Chongzhi, around 480 AD, calculated that π ≈ 355/113 (a fraction that goes by the name Milü in Chinese), using Liu Hui's algorithm applied to a 12,288-sided polygon. With a correct value for its seven first decimal digits, this value of 3.141592920... remained the most accurate approximation of π available for the next 800 years.[40]

The Indian astronomer Aryabhata used a value of 3.1416 in his Āryabhaṭīya (499 AD).[41] Fibonacci in c. 1220 computed 3.1418 using a polygonal method, independent of Archimedes.[42] Italian author Dante apparently employed the value \scriptstyle 3+\sqrt{2}/10 ≈ 3.14142.[42]

The Persian astronomer Jamshīd al-Kāshī produced 16 digits in 1424 using a polygon with 3×228 sides,[43][44] which stood as the world record for about 180 years.[45] French mathematician François Viète in 1579 achieved 9 digits with a polygon of 3×217 sides.[45] Flemish mathematician Adriaan van Roomen arrived at 15 decimal places in 1593.[45] In 1596, Dutch mathematician Ludolph van Ceulen reached 20 digits, a record he later increased to 35 digits (as a result, π was called the "Ludolphian number" in Germany until the early 20th century).[46] Dutch scientist Willebrord Snellius reached 34 digits in 1621,[47] and Austrian astronomer Christoph Grienberger arrived at 38 digits in 1630,[48] which remains the most accurate approximation manually achieved using polygonal algorithms.[47]

Infinite series

The calculation of π was revolutionized by the development of infinite series techniques in the 16th and 17th centuries. An infinite series is the sum of the terms of an infinite sequence.[49] Infinite series allowed mathematicians to compute π with much greater precision than Archimedes and others who used geometrical techniques.[49] Although infinite series were exploited for π most notably by European mathematicians such as James Gregory and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the approach was first discovered in India sometime between 1400 and 1500 AD.[50] The first written description of an infinite series that could be used to compute π was laid out in Sanskrit verse by Indian astronomer Nilakantha Somayaji in his Tantrasamgraha, around 1500 AD.[51] The series are presented without proof, but proofs are presented in a later Indian work, Yuktibhāṣā, from around 1530 AD. Nilakantha attributes the series to an earlier Indian mathematician, Madhava of Sangamagrama, who lived c. 1350 – c. 1425.[51] Several infinite series are described, including series for sine, tangent, and cosine, which are now referred to as the Madhava series or Gregory–Leibniz series.[51] Madhava used infinite series to estimate π to 11 digits around 1400, but that record was beaten around 1430 by the Persian mathematician Jamshīd al-Kāshī, using a polygonal algorithm.[52]

A formal portrait of a man, with long hair
Isaac Newton used infinite series to compute π to 15 digits, later writing "I am ashamed to tell you to how many figures I carried these computations".[53]

The first infinite sequence discovered in Europe was an infinite product (rather than an infinite sum, which are more typically used in π calculations) found by French mathematician François Viète in 1593:[54]

 \frac2\pi = \frac{\sqrt2}2 \cdot \frac{\sqrt{2+\sqrt2}}2 \cdot \frac{\sqrt{2+\sqrt{2+\sqrt2}}}2 \cdots OEISA060294

The second infinite sequence found in Europe, by John Wallis in 1655, was also an infinite product.[54] The discovery of calculus, by English scientist Isaac Newton and German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the 1660s, led to the development of many infinite series for approximating π. Newton himself used an arcsin series to compute a 15 digit approximation of π in 1665 or 1666, later writing "I am ashamed to tell you to how many figures I carried these computations, having no other business at the time."[53]

In Europe, Madhava's formula was rediscovered by Scottish mathematician James Gregory in 1671, and by Leibniz in 1674:[55][56]


\arctan z = z - \frac {z^3} {3} +\frac {z^5} {5} -\frac {z^7} {7} +\cdots

This formula, the Gregory–Leibniz series, equals \scriptstyle \pi/4 when evaluated with z = 1.[56] In 1699, English mathematician Abraham Sharp used the Gregory–Leibniz series to compute π to 71 digits, breaking the previous record of 39 digits, which was set with a polygonal algorithm.[57] The Gregory–Leibniz series is simple, but converges very slowly (that is, approaches the answer gradually), so it is not used in modern π calculations.[58]

In 1706 John Machin used the Gregory–Leibniz series to produce an algorithm that converged much faster:[59]

 \frac{\pi}{4} = 4 \, \arctan \frac{1}{5} - \arctan \frac{1}{239}

Machin reached 100 digits of π with this formula.[60] Other mathematicians created variants, now known as Machin-like formulae, that were used to set several successive records for π digits.[60] Machin-like formulae remained the best-known method for calculating π well into the age of computers, and were used to set records for 250 years, culminating in a 620-digit approximation in 1946 by Daniel Ferguson – the best approximation achieved without the aid of a calculating device.[61]

A remarkable record was set by the calculating prodigy Zacharias Dase, who in 1844 employed a Machin-like formula to calculate 200 decimals of π in his head at the behest of German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss.[62] British mathematician William Shanks famously took 15 years to calculate π to 707 digits, but made a mistake in the 528th digit, rendering all subsequent digits incorrect.[62]

Rate of convergence

Some infinite series for π converge faster than others. Given the choice of two infinite series for π, mathematicians will generally use the one that converges more rapidly because faster convergence reduces the amount of computation needed to calculate π to any given accuracy.[63] A simple infinite series for π is the Gregory–Leibniz series:[64]

 \pi = \frac{4}{1} - \frac{4}{3} + \frac{4}{5} - \frac{4}{7} + \frac{4}{9} - \frac{4}{11} + \frac{4}{13} - \cdots

As individual terms of this infinite series are added to the sum, the total gradually gets closer to π, and – with a sufficient number of terms – can get as close to π as desired. It converges quite slowly, though – after 500,000 terms, it produces only five correct decimal digits of π.[65]

An infinite series for π (published by Nilakantha in the 15th century) that converges more rapidly than the Gregory–Leibniz series is:[66]

 \pi = 3 + \frac{4}{2\times3\times4} - \frac{4}{4\times5\times6} + \frac{4}{6\times7\times8} - \frac{4}{8\times9\times10} + \cdots

The following table compares the convergence rates of these two series:

Infinite series for π After 1st term After 2nd term After 3rd term After 4th term After 5th term Converges to:
\scriptstyle \pi = \frac{4}{1} - \frac{4}{3} + \frac{4}{5} - \frac{4}{7} + \frac{4}{9} - \frac{4}{11} + \frac{4}{13} \cdots. 4.0000 2.6666... 3.4666... 2.8952... 3.3396... π = 3.1415...
\scriptstyle \pi = {{3}} + \frac{{4}}{2\times3\times4} - \frac{{4}}{4\times5\times6} + \frac{{4}}{6\times7\times8} \cdots. 3.0000 3.1666... 3.1333... 3.1452... 3.1396...

After five terms, the sum of the Gregory–Leibniz series is within 0.2 of the correct value of π, whereas the sum of Nilakantha's series is within 0.002 of the correct value of π. Nilakantha's series converges faster and is more useful for computing digits of π. Series that converge even faster include Machin's series and Chudnovsky's series, the latter producing 14 correct decimal digits per term.[63]

Irrationality and transcendence

Not all mathematical advances relating to π were aimed at increasing the accuracy of approximations. When Euler solved the Basel problem in 1735, finding the exact value of the sum of the reciprocal squares, he established a connection between π and the prime numbers that later contributed to the development and study of the Riemann zeta function:[67]

 \frac{\pi^2}{6} = \frac{1}{1^2} + \frac{1}{2^2} + \frac{1}{3^2} + \frac{1}{4^2} + \cdots

Swiss scientist Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1761 proved that π is irrational, meaning it is not equal to the quotient of any two whole numbers.[8] Lambert's proof exploited a continued-fraction representation of the tangent function.[68] French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre proved in 1794 that π2 is also irrational. In 1882, German mathematician Ferdinand von Lindemann proved that π is transcendental, confirming a conjecture made by both Legendre and Euler.[69]

Computer era and iterative algorithms

Formal photo of a balding man wearing a suit
John von Neumann was part of the team that first used a digital computer, ENIAC, to compute π.

The development of computers in the mid-20th century again revolutionized the hunt for digits of π. American mathematicians John Wrench and Levi Smith reached 1,120 digits in 1949 using a desk calculator.[70] Using an arctan infinite series, a team led by George Reitwiesner and John von Neumann achieved 2,037 digits with a calculation that took 70 hours of computer time on the ENIAC computer.[71] The record, always relying on arctan series, was broken repeatedly (7,480 digits in 1957; 10,000 digits in 1958; 100,000 digits in 1961) until 1 million digits was reached in 1973.[72]

Two additional developments around 1980 once again accelerated the ability to compute π. First, the discovery of new iterative algorithms for computing π, which were much faster than the infinite series; and second, the invention of fast multiplication algorithms that could multiply large numbers very rapidly.[73] Such algorithms are particularly important in modern π computations, because most of the computer's time is devoted to multiplication.[74] They include the Karatsuba algorithm, Toom–Cook multiplication, and Fourier transform-based methods.[75]

The Gauss–Legendre iterative algorithm:
Initialize

\scriptstyle a_0 = 1 \quad b_0 = \frac{1}{\sqrt 2} \quad t_0 = \frac{1}{4} \quad p_0 = 1

Iterate

\scriptstyle a_{n+1} = \frac{a_n+b_n}{2} \quad \quad b_{n+1} = \sqrt{a_n b_n}
\scriptstyle t_{n+1} = t_n - p_n (a_n-a_{n+1})^2 \quad \quad p_{n+1} = 2 p_n

Then an estimate for π is given by

\scriptstyle \pi \approx \frac{(a_n + b_n)^2}{4 t_n}

The iterative algorithms were independently published in 1975–1976 by American physicist Eugene Salamin and Australian scientist Richard Brent.[76] These avoid reliance on infinite series. An iterative algorithm repeats a specific calculation, each iteration using the outputs from prior steps as its inputs, and produces a result in each step that converges to the desired value. The approach was actually invented over 160 years earlier by Carl Friedrich Gauss, in what is now termed the arithmetic–geometric mean method (AGM method) or Gauss–Legendre algorithm.[76] As modified by Salamin and Brent, it is also referred to as the Brent–Salamin algorithm.

The iterative algorithms were widely used after 1980 because they are faster than infinite series algorithms: whereas infinite series typically increase the number of correct digits additively in successive terms, iterative algorithms generally multiply the number of correct digits at each step. For example, the Brent-Salamin algorithm doubles the number of digits in each iteration. In 1984, the Canadian brothers John and Peter Borwein produced an iterative algorithm that quadruples the number of digits in each step; and in 1987, one that increases the number of digits five times in each step.[77] Iterative methods were used by Japanese mathematician Yasumasa Kanada to set several records for computing π between 1995 and 2002.[78] This rapid convergence comes at a price: the iterative algorithms require significantly more memory than infinite series.[78]

Motivations for computing π

As mathematicians discovered new algorithms, and computers became available, the number of known decimal digits of π increased dramatically.

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.[79] Despite this, people have worked strenuously to compute π to thousands and millions of digits.[80] This effort may be partly ascribed to the human compulsion to break records, and such achievements with π often make headlines around the world.[81][82] They also have practical benefits, such as testing supercomputers, testing numerical analysis algorithms (including high-precision multiplication algorithms); and within pure mathematics itself, providing data for evaluating the randomness of the digits of π.[83]

Rapidly convergent series

Photo portrait of a man
Srinivasa Ramanujan, working in isolation in India, produced many innovative series for computing π.

Modern π calculators do not use iterative algorithms exclusively. New infinite series were discovered in the 1980s and 1990s that are as fast as iterative algorithms, yet are simpler and less memory intensive.[78] The fast iterative algorithms were anticipated in 1914, when the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan published dozens of innovative new formulae for π, remarkable for their elegance, mathematical depth, and rapid convergence.[84] One of his formulae, based on modular equations:

\frac{1}{\pi} = \frac{2 \sqrt 2}{9801} \sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{(4k)!(1103+26390k)}{(k!)^4 396^{4k}}

This series converges much more rapidly than most arctan series, including Machin's formula.[85] Bill Gosper was the first to use it for advances in the calculation of π, setting a record of 17 million digits in 1985.[86] Ramanujan's formulae anticipated the modern algorithms developed by the Borwein brothers and the Chudnovsky brothers.[87] The Chudnovsky formula developed in 1987 is

\frac{426880 \sqrt{10005}}{\pi} = \sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{(6k)! (13591409 + 545140134k)}{(3k)!(k!)^3 (-640320)^{3k}}

It produces about 14 digits of π per term,[88] and has been used for several record-setting π calculations, including the first to surpass (109) digits in 1989 by the Chudnovsky brothers, 2.7 trillion (2.7×1012) digits by Fabrice Bellard in 2009, and 10 trillion (1013) digits in 2011 by Alexander Yee and Shigeru Kondo.[89][90]

In 2006, Canadian mathematician Simon Plouffe used the PSLQ integer relation algorithm[91] to generate several new formulae for π, conforming to the following template:

\pi^k = \sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^k} \left(\frac{a}{q^n-1} + \frac{b}{q^{2n}-1} + \frac{c}{q^{4n}-1}\right)

where \mathit{q} is eπ (Gelfond's constant),  \mathit{k} is an odd number, and \mathit{a, b, c} are certain rational numbers that Plouffe computed.[92]

Spigot algorithms

Two algorithms were discovered in 1995 that opened up new avenues of research into π. They are called spigot algorithms because, like water dripping from a spigot, they produce single digits of π that are not reused after they are calculated.[93][94] This is in contrast to infinite series or iterative algorithms, which retain and use all intermediate digits until the final result is produced.[93]

American mathematicians Stan Wagon and Stanley Rabinowitz produced a simple spigot algorithm in 1995.[94][95][96] Its speed is comparable to arctan algorithms, but not as fast as iterative algorithms.[95]

Another spigot algorithm, the BBP digit extraction algorithm, was discovered in 1995 by Simon Plouffe:[97][98]

 \pi = \sum_{i=0}^\infty \frac{1}{16^i} \left( \frac{4}{8i + 1} - \frac{2}{8i + 4} - \frac{1}{8i + 5} - \frac{1}{8i + 6}\right)

This formula, unlike others before it, can produce any individual hexadecimal digit of π without calculating all the preceding digits.[97] Individual octal or binary digits may be extracted from the hexadecimal digits. Variations of the algorithm have been discovered, but no digit extraction algorithm has yet been found that rapidly produces decimal digits.[99] An important application of digit extraction algorithms is to validate new claims of record π computations: After a new record is claimed, the decimal result is converted to hexadecimal, and then a digit extraction algorithm is used to calculate several random hexadecimal digits near the end; if they match, this provides a measure of confidence that the entire computation is correct.[90]

Between 1998 and 2000, the distributed computing project PiHex used Bellard's formula (a modification of the BBP algorithm) to compute the quadrillionth (1015th) bit of π, which turned out to be 0.[100] In September 2010, a Yahoo! employee used the company's Hadoop application on one thousand computers over a 23-day period to compute 256 bits of π at the two-quadrillionth (2×1015th) bit.[101]

Use

Because π is closely related to the circle, it is found in many formulae from the fields of geometry and trigonometry, particularly those concerning circles, spheres, or ellipses. Formulae from other branches of science also include π in some of their important formulae, including sciences such as statistics, fractals, thermodynamics, mechanics, cosmology, number theory, and electromagnetism.

Geometry and trigonometry

A diagram of a circle with a square coving the circle's upper right quadrant.
The area of the circle equals π times the shaded area.

π appears in formulae for areas and volumes of geometrical shapes based on circles, such as ellipses, spheres, cones, and tori. Some of the more common formulae that involve π:[102]

  • The circumference of a circle with radius r is  2 \pi r
  • The area of a circle with radius r is  \pi r^2
  • The volume of a sphere with radius r is  \tfrac43\pi r^3
  • The surface area of a sphere with radius r is  4 \pi r^2

π appears in definite integrals that describe circumference, area, or volume of shapes generated by circles. For example, an integral that specifies half the area of a circle of radius one is given by:[103]

\int_{-1}^1 \sqrt{1-x^2}\,dx = \frac{\pi}{2}

In that integral the function \scriptstyle \sqrt{1-x^2} represents the top half of a circle (the square root is a consequence of the Pythagorean theorem), and the integral \scriptstyle \int_{-1}^1 computes the area between that half a circle and the x axis.

Diagram showing graphs of functions
Sine and cosine functions repeat with period 2π.

The trigonometric functions rely on angles, and mathematicians generally use radians as units of measurement. π plays an important role in angles measured in radians, which are defined so that a complete circle spans an angle of 2π radians.[104] The angle measure of 180° is equal to π radians, and 1° = π/180 radians.[104]

Common trigonometric functions have periods that are multiples of π; for example, sine and cosine have period 2π,[105] so for any angle θ and any integer k, \scriptstyle \sin\theta = \sin\left(\theta + 2\pi k \right) and \scriptstyle \cos\theta = \cos\left(\theta + 2\pi k \right).[105]

Monte Carlo methods

Needles of length ℓ scattered on stripes with width t
Buffon's needle. Needles a and b are dropped randomly.
Thousands of dots randomly covering a square and a circle inscribed in the square
Random dots are placed on a square with a circle inscribed in it.
Monte Carlo methods, based on random trials, can be used to approximate π.

Monte Carlo methods, which evaluate the results of multiple random trials, can be used to create approximations of π.[106] Buffon's needle is one such technique: If a needle of length is dropped n times on a surface on which parallel lines are drawn t units apart, and if x of those times it comes to rest crossing a line (x > 0), then one may approximate π based on the counts:[107]

\pi \approx \frac{2n\ell}{xt}

Another Monte Carlo method for computing π is to draw a circle inscribed in a square, and randomly place dots in the square. The ratio of dots inside the circle to the total number of dots will approximately equal \scriptstyle \pi/4.[108]

Monte Carlo methods for approximating π are very slow compared to other methods, and are never used to approximate π when speed or accuracy are desired.[109]

Complex numbers and analysis

A diagram of a unit circle centered at the origin in the complex plane, including a ray from the center of the circle to its edge, with the triangle legs labeled with sine and cosine functions.
The association between imaginary powers of the number e and points on the unit circle centered at the origin in the complex plane given by Euler's formula.

Any complex number, say z, can be expressed using a pair of real numbers. In the polar coordinate system, one number (radius or r) is used to represent z's distance from the origin of the complex plane and the other (angle or φ) to represent a counter-clockwise rotation from the positive real line as follows:[110]

z = r\cdot(\cos\varphi + i\sin\varphi)

where i is the imaginary unit satisfying i2 = −1. The frequent appearance of π in complex analysis can be related to the behavior of the exponential function of a complex variable, described by Euler's formula:[111]

e^{i\varphi} = \cos \varphi + i\sin \varphi

where the constant e is the base of the natural logarithm. This formula establishes a correspondence between imaginary powers of e and points on the unit circle centered at the origin of the complex plane. Setting φ = π in Euler's formula results in Euler's identity, celebrated by mathematicians because it contains the five most important mathematical constants:[111][112]

e^{i \pi} + 1 = 0

There are n different complex numbers z satisfying  z^n = 1, and these are called the "n-th roots of unity".[113] They are given by this formula:

e^{2 \pi i k/n} \qquad (k = 0, 1, 2, \dots, n - 1)

Cauchy's integral formula governs complex analytic functions and establishes an important relationship between integration and differentiation, including the remarkable fact that the values of a complex function within a closed boundary are entirely determined by the values on the boundary:[114][115]

f (z_{0}) = \frac{1}{ 2\pi i } \oint_\gamma { f(z) \over z-z_0 }\,dz
An complex black shape on a blue background.
π can be computed from the Mandelbrot set, by counting the number of iterations required before point (−0.75, ε) diverges.

An occurrence of π in the Mandelbrot set fractal was discovered by American David Boll in 1991.[116] He examined the behavior of the Mandelbrot set near the "neck" at (−0.75, 0). If points with coordinates (−0.75, ε) are considered, as ε tends to zero, the number of iterations until divergence for the point multiplied by ε converges to π. The point (0.25, ε) at the cusp of the large "valley" on the right side of the Mandelbrot set behaves similarly: the number of iterations until divergence multiplied by the square root of ε tends to π.[116][117]

The gamma function extends the concept of factorial – which is normally defined only for whole numbers – to all real numbers. When the gamma function is evaluated at half-integers, the result contains π; for example \scriptstyle \Gamma(1/2) = \sqrt{\pi} and \scriptstyle\Gamma(5/2) = \frac {3 \sqrt{\pi}} {4} .[118] The gamma function can be used to create a simple approximation to \scriptstyle n! for large \scriptstyle n: \scriptstyle n! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi n} \left(\frac{n}{e}\right)^n which is known as Stirling's approximation.[119]

Number theory and Riemann zeta function

The Riemann zeta function ζ(s) is used in many areas of mathematics. When evaluated at \scriptstyle s = 2 it can be written as

 \zeta(2) = \frac{1}{1^2} + \frac{1}{2^2} + \frac{1}{3^2} + \cdots

Finding a simple solution for this infinite series was a famous problem in mathematics called the Basel problem. Leonhard Euler solved it in 1735 when he showed it was equal to \scriptstyle 6/ \pi^2.[67] Euler's result leads to the number theory result that the probability of two random numbers being relatively prime (that is, having no shared factors) is equal to \scriptstyle 6/ \pi^2.[120][121] This probability is based on the observation that the probability that any number is divisible by a prime \scriptstyle p is \scriptstyle 1/p (for example, every 7th integer is divisible by 7.) Hence the probability that two numbers are both divisible by this prime is \scriptstyle 1/p^2, and the probability that at least one of them is not is \scriptstyle 1-1/p^2. For distinct primes, these divisibility events are mutually independent; so the probability that two numbers are relatively prime is given by a product over all primes:[122]

\prod_p^{\infty} \left(1-\frac{1}{p^2}\right) = \left( \prod_p^{\infty} \frac{1}{1-p^{-2}} \right)^{-1} = \frac{1}{1 + \frac{1}{2^2} + \frac{1}{3^2} + \cdots } = \frac{1}{\zeta(2)} = \frac{6}{\pi^2} \approx 61\%

This probability can be used in conjunction with a random number generator to approximate π using a Monte Carlo approach.[123]

Physics

Although not a physical constant, π appears routinely in equations describing fundamental principles of the universe, often because of π's relationship to the circle and to spherical coordinate systems. A simple formula from the field of classical mechanics gives the approximate period T of a simple pendulum of length L, swinging with a small amplitude (g is the earth's gravitational acceleration):[124]

T \approx 2\pi \sqrt\frac{L}{g}

One of the key formulae of quantum mechanics is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which shows that the uncertainty in the measurement of a particle's position (Δx) and momentump) cannot both be arbitrarily small at the same time (where h is Planck's constant):[125]

 \Delta x\, \Delta p \ge \frac{h}{4\pi}

In the domain of cosmology, π appears in one of the fundamental formulae: Einstein's field equation, which forms the basis of the general theory of relativity and describes the fundamental interaction of gravitation as a result of spacetime being curved by matter and energy:[126]

 R_{ik} - {g_{ik} R \over 2} + \Lambda g_{ik} = {8 \pi G \over c^4} T_{ik}

where R_{ik}\, is the Ricci curvature tensor, R\, is the scalar curvature, g_{ik}\, is the metric tensor, \Lambda\, is the cosmological constant, G\, is Newton's gravitational constant, c\, is the speed of light in vacuum, and T_{ik}\, is the stress–energy tensor.

Coulomb's law, from the discipline of electromagnetism, describes the electric field between two electric charges (q1 and q2) separated by distance r (with ε0 representing the vacuum permittivity of free space):[127]

 F = \frac{\left|q_1q_2\right|}{4 \pi \varepsilon_0 r^2}

The fact that π is approximately equal to 3 plays a role in the relatively long lifetime of orthopositronium. The inverse lifetime to lowest order in the fine structure constant \alpha is given by:[128]

\frac{1}{\tau} = 2\frac{\pi^2 - 9}{9\pi}m\alpha^{6}

where m is the mass of the electron.

Probability and statistics

A graph of the Gaussian function
ƒ(x) = ex2. The colored region between the function and the x-axis has area  \scriptstyle\sqrt{\pi} .

The fields of probability and statistics frequently use the normal distribution as a simple model for complex phenomena; for example, scientists generally assume that the observational error in most experiments follows a normal distribution.[129] π is found in the Gaussian function (which is the probability density function of the normal distribution) with mean μ and standard deviation σ:[130]

f(x) = {1 \over \sigma\sqrt{2\pi} }\,e^{-(x-\mu )^2/(2\sigma^2)}

The area under the graph of the normal distribution curve is given by the Gaussian integral:[130]

\int_{-\infty}^\infty e^{-x^2} \, dx=\sqrt{\pi},

while the related integral for the Cauchy distribution is

\int_{-\infty }^{\infty } \frac{1}{x^2+1} \, dx = \pi.

Engineering and geology

π is present in some structural engineering formulae, such as the buckling formula derived by Euler, which gives the maximum axial load F that a long, slender column of length L, modulus of elasticity E, and area moment of inertia I can carry without buckling:[131]

F =\frac{\pi^2EI}{L^2}

The field of fluid dynamics contains π in Stokes' law, which approximates the frictional force F exerted on small, spherical objects of radius R, moving with velocity v in a fluid with dynamic viscosity η:[132]

F =6 \, \pi \, \eta \, R \, v

The Fourier transform is a mathematical operation that expresses time as a function of frequency, known as its frequency spectrum. It has many applications in physics and engineering, particularly in signal processing:[133]

\hat{f}(\xi) = \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} f(x)\ e^{- 2\pi i x \xi}\,dx

Under ideal conditions (uniform gentle slope on an homogeneously erodible substrate), the sinuosity of a meandering river approaches π. The sinuosity is the ratio between the actual length and the straight-line distance from source to mouth. Faster currents along the outside edges of a river's bends cause more erosion than along the inside edges, thus pushing the bends even farther out, and increasing the overall loopiness of the river. However, that loopiness eventually causes the river to double back on itself in places and "short-circuit", creating an ox-bow lake in the process. The balance between these two opposing factors leads to an average ratio of π between the actual length and the direct distance between source and mouth.[134][135]

Outside the sciences

Memorizing digits

Many persons have memorized large numbers of digits of π, a practice called piphilology.[136] One common technique is to memorize a story or poem, in which the word-lengths represent the digits of π: The first word has three letters, the second word has one, the third has four, the fourth has one, the fifth has five, and so on. An early example of a memorization aid, originally devised by English scientist James Jeans, is: "How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics."[136] When a poem is used, it is sometimes referred to as a "piem". Poems for memorizing π have been composed in several languages in addition to English.[136]

The record for memorizing digits of π, certified by Guinness World Records, is 67,890 digits, recited in China by Lu Chao in 24 hours and 4 minutes on 20 November 2005.[137][138] In 2006, Akira Haraguchi, a retired Japanese engineer, claimed to have recited 100,000 decimal places, but the claim was not verified by Guinness World Records.[139] Record-setting π memorizers typically do not rely on poems, but instead use methods such as remembering number patterns and the method of loci.[140]

A few authors have used the digits of π to establish a new form of constrained writing, where the word-lengths are required to represent the digits of π. The Cadaeic Cadenza contains the first 3835 digits of π in this manner,[141] and the full-length book Not a Wake contains 10,000 words, each representing one digit of π.[142]

In popular culture

Pi Pie at Delft University
A pi pie. The circular shape of pie makes it a frequent subject of pi puns.

Perhaps because of the simplicity of its definition and its ubiquitous presence in formulae, π has been represented in popular culture more than other mathematical constructs. In the Palais de la Découverte (a science museum in Paris) there is a circular room known as the "pi room". On its wall are inscribed 707 digits of π. The digits are large wooden characters attached to the dome-like ceiling. The digits were based on an 1853 calculation by English mathematician William Shanks, which included an error beginning at the 528th digit. The error was detected in 1946 and corrected in 1949.[143]

e to the u, du / dx
e to the x, dx
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine
3.14159
Integral, radical, mu dv
Slipstick, slide rule, MIT!
GOOOOOO TECH!

MIT cheer[144]

Many schools in the United States observe Pi Day on 14 March (March is the third month, hence the date is 3/14).[145] π and its digital representation are often used by self-described "math geeks" for inside jokes among mathematically and technologically minded groups. Several college cheers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology include "3.14159".[144] During the 2011 auction for Nortel's portfolio of valuable technology patents, Google made a series of unusually specific bids based on mathematical and scientific constants, including π.[146]

Proponents of a new mathematical constant tau (τ), equal to 2π, have argued that a constant based on the ratio of a circle's circumference to its radius rather than to its diameter would be more natural and would simplify many formulae.[147][148] While their proposals, which include celebrating 28 June as "Tau Day", have been reported in the media, they have not been reflected in the scientific literature.[149][150]

In Carl Sagan's novel Contact it is suggested that the creator of the universe buried a message deep within the digits of π.[151] The digits of π have also been incorporated into the lyrics of the song "Pi" from the album Aerial by Kate Bush,[152] and a song by Hard 'n Phirm.[153]

In 1897, an amateur mathematician attempted to persuade the Indiana legislature to pass the Indiana Pi Bill, which described a method to square the circle, and contained text which assumes various incorrect values of π, including 3.2. The bill is notorious as an attempt to establish scientific truth by legislative fiat. The bill was passed by the Indiana House of Representatives, but rejected by the Senate.[154]

In the Doctor Who episode "Midnight", the Doctor encounters the Midnight Entity that takes over the body of various characters. The character Sky Silvestry when taken over mimics the speech patterns of The Doctor by repeating, in synchronism, the square root of π to 30 decimal places.[155] This involved the actors David Tennant and Leslie Sharp learning the sequence to be able to repeat it.

See also


Notes

  1. ^ a b c Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 8
  2. ^ Rudin, Walter (1976). Principles of Mathematical Analysis. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-054235-X., p 183.
  3. ^ Holton, David; Mackridge, Peter (2004). Greek: an Essential Grammar of the Modern Language. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23210-4., p. xi.
  4. ^ "pi". Dictionary.reference.com. 2 March 1993. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pi?s=t. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  5. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 165. A facsimile of Jones' text is in Berggren, Borwein & Borwein 1997, pp. 108–109
  6. ^ See Schepler 1950, p. 220: William Oughtred used the letter π to represent the periphery (i.e., circumference) of a circle.
  7. ^ a b c d e Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 166
  8. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 5
  9. ^ Salikhov, V. (2008). "On the Irrationality Measure of pi". Russian Mathematical Survey 53 (3): 570. Bibcode 2008RuMaS..63..570S. doi:10.1070/RM2008v063n03ABEH004543.
  10. ^ Mayer, Steve. "The Transcendence of π". http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/town/way/po28/maths/docs/pi.html. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  11. ^ The polynomial shown is the first few terms of the Taylor series expansion of the sine function.
  12. ^ Posamentier & Lehmann 2004, p. 25
  13. ^ Eymard & Lafon 1999, p. 129
  14. ^ Beckmann 1989, p. 37
    Schlager, Neil; Lauer, Josh (2001). Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Gale Group. ISBN 0-7876-3933-8., p 185.
  15. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 22–23
    Preuss, Paul (23 July 2001). "Are The Digits of Pi Random? Lab Researcher May Hold The Key". Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/pi-random.html. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
  16. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 22, 28–30
  17. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 3
  18. ^ a b Eymard & Lafon 1999, p. 78
  19. ^ "Sloane's A001203 : Continued fraction for Pi", The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. OEIS Foundation. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  20. ^ Lange, L. J. (May 1999). "An Elegant Continued Fraction for π". The American Mathematical Monthly 106 (5): 456–458. doi:10.2307/2589152. JSTOR 2589152.
  21. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 240
  22. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 242
  23. ^ "We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of π, in practice they used it". Verner, M. (2003). The Pyramids: Their Archaeology and History., p. 70.
    Petrie (1940). Wisdom of the Egyptians., p. 30.
    See also Legon, J. A. R. (1991). "On Pyramid Dimensions and Proportions". Discussions in Egyptology 20: 25–34. http://www.legon.demon.co.uk/pyrprop/propde.htm..
    See also Petrie, W. M. F. (1925). "Surveys of the Great Pyramids". Nature Journal 116 (2930): 942–942. Bibcode 1925Natur.116..942P. doi:10.1038/116942a0.
  24. ^ Egyptologist: Rossi, Corinna, Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp 60–70, 200, ISBN 9780521829540.
    Skeptics: Shermer, Michael, The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, ABC-CLIO, 2002, pp 407–408, ISBN 9781576076538.
    See also Fagan, Garrett G., Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents The Past and Misleads the Public, Routledge, 2006, ISBN 9780415305938.
    For a list of explanations for the shape that do not involve π, see Roger Herz-Fischler (2000). The Shape of the Great Pyramid. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 67–77, 165–166. ISBN 9780889203242. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=066T3YLuhA0C&pg=67,
  25. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 167
  26. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 168–169
  27. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 169
  28. ^ The verses are 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2; see Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 169, Schepler 1950, p. 165, and Beckmann 1989, pp. 14–16.
  29. ^ Suggestions that the pool had a hexagonal shape or an outward curving rim have been offered to explain the disparity. See Borwein, Jonathan M.; Bailey, David H. (2008). Mathematics by Experiment: Plausible Reasoning in the 21st century (revised 2nd ed.). A. K. Peters. ISBN 978-1-56881-442-1., pp. 103, 136, 137.
  30. ^ James A. Arieti, Patrick A. Wilson (2003). The Scientific & the Divine. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 9–10. ISBN 9780742513976. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q2MHZTL_s64C&pg=PA9.
  31. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 170
  32. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 175, 205
  33. ^ The Computation of Pi by Archimedes: The Computation of Pi by Archimedes - File Exchange - MATLAB Central
  34. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 171
  35. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 176
    Boyer & Merzbach 1991, p. 168
  36. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 15–16, 175, 184–186, 205. Grienberger achieved 39 digits in 1630; Sharp 71 digits in 1699.
  37. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 176–177
  38. ^ a b Boyer & Merzbach 1991, p. 202
  39. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 177
  40. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 178
  41. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 179
  42. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 180
  43. ^ Azarian, Mohammad K. (2010), "al-Risāla al-muhītīyya: A Summary" (PDF), Missouri Journal of Mathematical Sciences 22 (2): 64–85, http://nirmala.home.xs4all.nl/Azarian2.pdf.
  44. ^ O’Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F. (1999), "Ghiyath al-Din Jamshid Mas'ud al-Kashi", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/Biographies/Al-Kashi.html, retrieved August 11, 2012.
  45. ^ a b c Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 182
  46. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 182–183
  47. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 183
  48. ^ Grienbergerus, Christophorus (1630) (in Latin) (PDF). Elementa Trigonometrica. http://librarsi.comune.palermo.it/gesuiti2/06.04.01.pdf. His evaluation was 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 4196 < π < 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 4199.
  49. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 185–191
  50. ^ Roy 1990, pp. 101–102
    Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 185–186
  51. ^ a b c Roy 1990, pp. 101–102
  52. ^ Joseph 1991, p. 264
  53. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 188. Newton quoted by Arndt.
  54. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 187
  55. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 188–189
  56. ^ a b Eymard & Lafon 1999, pp. 53–54
  57. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 189
  58. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 156
  59. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 192–193
  60. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 72–74
  61. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 192–196, 205
  62. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 194–196
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    Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 15–17, 70–72, 104, 156, 192–197, 201–202
  64. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 69–72
  65. ^ Borwein, J. M.; Borwein, P. B.; Dilcher, K. (1989). "Pi, Euler Numbers, and Asymptotic Expansions". American Mathematical Monthly 96 (8): 681–687. doi:10.2307/2324715.
  66. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 223, (formula 16.10). Note that (n − 1)n(n + 1) = n3 − n.
    Wells, David (1997). The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (revised ed.). Penguin. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-140-26149-3.
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  68. ^ Lambert, Johann, "Mémoire sur quelques propriétés remarquables des quantités transcendantes circulaires et logarithmiques", reprinted in Berggren, Borwein & Borwein 1997, pp. 129–140
  69. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 196
  70. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 205
  71. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 197. See also Reitwiesner 1950.
  72. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 197
  73. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 15–17
  74. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 131
  75. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 132, 140
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  77. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 111 (5 times); pp. 113–114 (4 times).
    See Borwein & Borwein 1987 for details of algorithms.
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    Accounting for additional digits needed to compensate for computational round-off errors, Arndt concludes that a few hundred digits would suffice for any scientific application.
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  84. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 103–104
  85. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 104
  86. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 104, 206
  87. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 110–111
  88. ^ Eymard & Lafon 1999, p. 254
  89. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 110–111, 206
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  91. ^ PSLQ means Partial Sum of Least Squares.
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  94. ^ a b Gibbons, Jeremy, "Unbounded Spigot Algorithms for the Digits of Pi", 2005. Gibbons produced an improved version of Wagon's algorithm.
  95. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 77
  96. ^ Rabinowitz, Stanley; Wagon, Stan (March 1995). "A spigot algorithm for the digits of Pi". American Mathematical Monthly 102 (3): 195–203. doi:10.2307/2975006. A computer program has been created that implements Wagon's spigot algorithm in only 120 characters of software.
  97. ^ a b Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 117, 126–128
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  99. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 128. Plouffe did create a decimal digit extraction algorithm, but it is slower than full, direct computation of all preceding digits.
  100. ^ Arndt & Haenel 2006, p. 20
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  136. ^ a b c Arndt & Haenel 2006, pp. 44–45
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References

Further reading

  • Blatner, David (1999). The Joy of Pi. Walker & Company. ISBN 978-0-8027-7562-7.
  • Borwein, Jonathan Michael and Borwein, Peter Benjamin, "The Arithmetic-Geometric Mean and Fast Computation of Elementary Functions", SIAM Review, 26(1984) 351–365
  • Borwein, Jonathan Michael, Borwein, Peter Benjamin, and Bailey, David H., Ramanujan, Modular Equations, and Approximations to Pi or How to Compute One Billion Digits of Pi", The American Mathematical Monthly, 96(1989) 201–219
  • Chudnovsky, David V. and Chudnovsky, Gregory V., "Approximations and Complex Multiplication According to Ramanujan", in Ramanujan Revisited (G.E. Andrews et al. Eds), Academic Press, 1988, pp 375–396, 468–472
  • Cox, David A., "The Arithmetic-Geometric Mean of Gauss", L' Ensignement Mathematique, 30(1984) 275–330
  • Engels, Hermann, "Quadrature of the Circle in Ancient Egypt", Historia Mathematica 4(1977) 137–140
  • Euler, Leonhard, "On the Use of the Discovered Fractions to Sum Infinite Series", in Introduction to Analysis of the Infinite. Book I, translated from the Latin by J. D. Blanton, Springer-Verlag, 1964, pp 137–153
  • Heath, T. L., The Works of Archimedes, Cambridge, 1897; reprinted in The Works of Archimedes with The Method of Archimedes, Dover, 1953, pp 91–98
  • Huygens, Christiaan, "De Circuli Magnitudine Inventa", Christiani Hugenii Opera Varia I, Leiden 1724, pp 384–388
  • Lay-Yong, Lam and Tian-Se, Ang, "Circle Measurements in Ancient China", Historia Mathematica 13(1986) 325–340
  • Lindemann, Ferdinand, "Ueber die Zahl pi", Mathematische Annalen 20(1882) 213–225
  • Matar, K. Mukunda, and Rajagonal, C., "On the Hindu Quadrature of the Circle" (Appendix by K. Balagangadharan). Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 20(1944) 77–82
  • Niven, Ivan, "A Simple Proof that pi Is Irrational", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, 53:7 (July 1947), 507
  • Ramanujan, Srinivasa, "Modular Equations and Approximations to pi", Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society, XLV, 1914, 350–372. Reprinted in G.H. Hardy, P.V. Sehuigar, and B. M. Wilson (eds), Srinivasa Ramanujan: Collected Papers, 1962, pp 23–29
  • Shanks, William, Contributions to Mathematics Comprising Chiefly of the Rectification of the Circle to 607 Places of Decimals, 1853, pp. i–xvi, 10
  • Shanks, Daniel and Wrench, John William, "Calculation of pi to 100,000 Decimals", Mathematics of Computation 16(1962) 76–99
  • Tropfke, Johannes, Geschichte Der Elementar-Mathematik in Systematischer Darstellung (The history of elementary mathematics), BiblioBazaar, 2009 (reprint), ISBN 978-1-113-08573-3
  • Viete, Francois, Variorum de Rebus Mathematicis Reponsorum Liber VII. F. Viete, Opera Mathematica (reprint), Georg Olms Verlag, 1970, pp 398–401, 436–446
  • Wagon, Stan, "Is Pi Normal?", The Mathematical Intelligencer, 7:3(1985) 65–67
  • Wallis, John, Arithmetica Infinitorum, sive Nova Methodus Inquirendi in Curvilineorum Quadratum, aliaque difficiliora Matheseos Problemata, Oxford 1655–6. Reprinted in vol. 1 (pp 357–478) of Opera Mathematica, Oxford 1693
  • Zebrowski, Ernest, A History of the Circle : Mathematical Reasoning and the Physical Universe, Rutgers Univ Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-8135-2898-4

External links


Top

Dansk (Danish)
1.
n. - pi
symb. - 3,1415

2.
adj. - hellig

3.
n. - rodsammen
v. tr. - rode sammen
v. intr. - blive rodet

Nederlands (Dutch)
pi (wiskunde), vroom, chaos, wirwar van drukletters, (drukletters) door elkaar halen

Français (French)
1.
n. - pi (lettre grecque)
symb. - (Math) pi (valeur)

2.
adj. - (abrév) de pieux

3.
n. - (Imprim) caractères mélangés (au hasard)
v. tr. - (Imprim) mélanger/embrouiller (des caractères)
v. intr. - se mélanger, s'embrouiller

Deutsch (German)
1.
n. - Pi
symb. - Pi

2.
adj. - (ugs.) fromm, ehrfurchtsvoll

3.
n. - Pi
v. - durcheinanderbringen

Ελληνική (Greek)
n. - το ελληνικό γράμμα "Π", (μαθημ.) πι
adj. - (Βρετ., καθομ.) ευσεβής, θρησκευόμενος
abbr. - το ελληνικό γράμμα "Π", (μαθημ.) πι

Italiano (Italian)
pi greco, da santarello, virtuoso, pio

Português (Portuguese)
n. - pi (m)
adj. - piedoso
abbr. - torta

Русский (Russian)
смесь, число пи, частный следователь

Español (Spanish)
1.
n. - pi (letra griega)
symb. - número pi

2.
adj. - pío, piadoso

3.
n. - desorden de tipos de imprenta
v. tr. - desordenar tipos de imprenta
v. intr. - volverse desordenados (tipos de imprenta)

Svenska (Swedish)
n. - grek bokstav o mat
adj. - skenhelig (sl.), hymlande
abbr. - pious (from, religiös)

中文(简体)(Chinese (Simplified))
1. 希腊语的第十六个字母的名称, 错乱的字, 混杂活字, 圆周率符号

2. 希腊语的第十六个字母的名称, 错乱的字, 混杂活字, 圆周率符号

中文(繁體)(Chinese (Traditional))
1.
n. - 希臘語的第十六個字母的名稱, 錯亂的字, 混雜活字, 圓周率符號
v. tr. - 希臘語的第十六個字母的名稱, 錯亂的字, 混雜活字, 圓周率符號
v. intr. - 希臘語的第十六個字母的名稱, 錯亂的字, 混雜活字, 圓周率符號

2.
n. - 希臘語的第十六個字母的名稱, 錯亂的字, 混雜活字, 圓周率符號

한국어 (Korean)
1.
n. - 파이(그리스 말 알파벳의 제16자 파이)
symb. - 원주율

2.
adj. - 믿음이 두터운, 종교적인

3.
n. - 순서 없이 뒤섞인 활자, 혼란
v. tr. - 뒤섞다
v. intr. - 뒤섞이다

日本語 (Japanese)
n. - パイ, 円周率

العربيه (Arabic)
‏(الاسم) الحرف السادس, عشر من الأبجديه اليونانيه, النسبه التقريبيه بين محيط الدائرة وقطرها (صفه) هادئ, رقيق (اختصار) مختصر : أذى جسماني ( تأمين) , المحقق الرئيسي, محقق خاص‏

עברית (Hebrew)
n. - ‮פיי (אות יוונית)‬
symb. - ‮סמל היחס בין היקף המעגל לקוטרו - 41.3‬
adj. - ‮קיצור של: צדיק, קדוש, מתחסד‬
n. - ‮כמות אותיות-דפוס שהתערבבו או נזרקו יחד באופן אקראי‬
v. tr. - ‮ערבב (אותיות-דפוס)‬
v. intr. - ‮התערבבו (אותיות-דפוס)‬


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