Pi – the World’s Most Mysterious Number  

Pi – the World’s Most Mysterious Number


Pi DayThis exhibit explores Pi, the world's most mysterious number. The value of Pi is approximately 3.14. But what is PI? What is the real value of PI? How can the value be found today using the most modern technology? How might Pi be used?

This year's Pi exhibit also features Pi in Action, displaying the actual surface area of a globe, the volume of the globe, and the circumference of a plate as fun pieces.

Interesting facts about Pi:

  • In 1706 William Jones (1675 – 1749) published his book Synopsis palmariorum matheseos, in which he used Pi to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. This is believed to have been the first time that Pi was used as it is today.
  • It was the legendary Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, often considered the most prolific writer in the history of mathematics, who is largely responsible for today's common use of Pi.
  • Now we are in the trillions of decimal places.
  • 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.
  • The formula of volume of a sphere, V=4/3πr3 was first derived by Archimedes, who showed that the volume of a sphere is 2/3 that of a circumscribed cylinder (This assertion follows from Cavalieri's principle).
  • The formula of surface area of a sphere, A=4πr² was also first derived by Archimedes.
  • Pi lovers celebrate March 14 as PI-Day.  What a coincidence that Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879.
  • Check MathSciNet or Academic Search Complete for articles about Pi.


Pi Exhibit Pi Exhibit Pi Exhibit Pi Exhibit




Book 1 A History of Pi  / by Petr Beckmann
Boulder, Colorado : The Golem Press, 1977
QA484.B4 1977
Book 1 Pi: A Source Book / by Lennart Berggrem, Jonathan Borwein and Peter Borwein
New York : Springer, 1997
QA484.P5 1997
Book 1 Pi and the AGM / by Borwein and Peter Borwein
New York : John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1987
QA241.B774 1987
Book 1 Humble Pi : The Role Mathematics should play in American Education / by Michael K. Smith
New York : Prometheus Books, 1994
QA13.S65 1994
Book 1 Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number/ by Alfred S. Postamentier and Ingmar Lehmann
QA484.P67 2004
Book 1 The Joy of Pi / by David Blatner
New York : Walker Publishing Company, Inc., 1997
QA484.B55 1997



This exhibit was created March, 2013 and  designed by Ying Shen and Lizbeth Langston with assistance from Mary Miller, Jessica Reyes and Margarita Yonezawa.

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Last modified: 4/12/2013 2:09 PM

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