The Craziest Thing You’ll Ever Learn About Pi


First off, happy pi day.

According to a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the number Pi has been calculated out to over one trillion digits. But that’s not the interesting part.

As it turns out, it’s totally overkill to get that precise with it. Dividing 22 by 7 gives an estimate that works for most everyday needs, such as carpentry and construction (it’s roughly 99% accurate). And calculating pi out to only 39 places gives truly astronomical precision.

Using pi calculated out to only 39 decimal places would allow one to compute the circumference of the entire universe to the accuracy of less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom.

Holy crap. So, yeah…I guess 39 places will be “good enough” then…

Oh, and just for a bit of trivia, Albert Einstein’s birthday is today, and he was a big fan of pi. But that’s not it. His birthday, like pi day, also falls on March 14th — otherwise known as 3.14. Einstein’s birthday on 3.14. Coincidence? I don’t think so. We all know God doesn’t play dice.:

[ Thanks to NPR’s Science Friday for the excellent show today! ]

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