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Here are ten fun facts about the most famous mathematical constant in the world.
1. The number pi has been known for about 4,000 years, but it started to be called by the Greek letter in the 1700s.
2. In the first million digits of pi, there are no occurrences of the sequence 123456.
3. The true randomness of pi’s digits has never been proven.
4. March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.
5. In the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold,” Spock foils an evil computer by commanding it to “compute to last digit the value of pi.”
6. According to some Egyptologists and followers of mysticism, the Great Pyramid of 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.
7. A mysterious 2008 crop circle in Britain shows a coded image representing the first 10 digits of pi.
8. William Shanks (1812-1882) worked for years by hand to find the first 707 digits of pi. Sadly, he made a mistake after the 527th place and the following digits were all wrong.
9. 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.
10. Pi was first rigorously calculated by Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 B.C.). Archimedes was so engrossed in his work that he did not notice that Roman soldiers had taken the Greek city of Syracuse. When a Roman soldier approached him, he yelled in Greek “Do not touch my circles!” The Roman soldier cut off his head and went on with his business.
So how can you commemorate the intellectual progress humankind has made in calculating pi?