Interesting facts about Pi

Considered as one of the most important numbers in mathematics, Pi has intrigued us for centuries and the Greek letter π, which is used to represent it has become part of popular culture.

While our list doesn’t contain 3.1416 facts about Pi, it does include interesting things (some that you may not know) about this recognized mathematical constant.

  1. Pi has been known for nearly 4000 years, but the symbol that represents it (π) only started being used in the 18th century.
  2. William Jones introduced π in 1706, but its use was popularized by Leonhard Euler in 1737.
  3. The letter π is the sixteenth letter in the Greek alphabet and in English, P is also the sixteenth letter.
  4. Pi represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, in other words, the number of times a circle’s diameter will fit around its circumference.
  5. While mathematicians have been able to evaluate pi to a high degree of accuracy, its true value cannot be established and as such, it is not possible to find the exact circumference or area of a circle.
  6. Pi is irrational since it cannot be written as a rational simple fraction and although 22/7 is often used to represent it, it is not exact. Pi is also transcendental as it is a complex, non algebraic number.
  7. Ancient Greek scientist Archimedes is considered as the first person to study pi in detail and it is believed that Plato obtained an accurate value (equal to 3.146) for pi.
  8. Mathematician Ludolph Van Ceulen who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries, spent a major part of his life calculating the value of Pi. The Ludolphine number (3.14159265358979323846264338327950288) was engraved in his tombstone.
  9. Pi is also known as Archimedes constant, Ludolph’s number and Circular constant.
  10. In the 19th century, Willian Shanks calculated the first 707 digits of Pi by hand. Unfortunately, only the first 527 places were correct.
  11. The value of pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal points. When calculated, the value will continue infinitely without being repeated and there is not a pattern. In 2005, Chao Luo achieved the record for reciting from memory the value of pi up to 67890 digits.
  12. In 2011, Shigeru Kondo from Japan set the record for determining the value of pi, finding 10 trillion digits with the help of a powerful home-made computer.
  13. Calculating the value of Pi is a Stress test for a computer, but not even a computer can find the exact value.
  14. The most accurate fraction of pi is 104348/33215. 22/7, the commonly used fraction of Pi is 0.00000849% accurate.
  15. A passage in the book of Kings in the Bible is believed to refer to the concept of Pi, although the term is not mentioned.
  16. Since the common value for pi is 3.14, Pi day is celebrated every year on March 14th. The first major celebration was organized in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw in San Francisco. The celebrations include pie eating and discussions about pi. Albert Einstein was born on Pi day: March 14th, 1879.
  17. The first six digits of Pi, 3.14159 appear in the same order at least six times within the first ten million decimals of pi.
  18. While many people believe that there are no corners for a circle, the truth is that there is an infinite number of corners.
  19. Darren Aranofsky, director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, made his debut in 1998 with Pi (π), an ingenious film about a number theorist who is driven to madness while looking for mathematical answers to understand existence.
  20. Pi also appears in movies like Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain and The Net, starring Sandra Bullock.

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