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Terry Pundiak Explains Pi (π)

Terry Pundiak offered a rational discussion regarding the irrational number known as pi, or π, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Because it is irrational, it can't be written as a fraction. Instead, it is an infinitely long, nonrepeating number. He spent the entire lunch session listing approximately the first 400 digits on a home-made chart.


The existence of pi has been known for thousands of years, but it is only recently that it has been calculated to more than a few digits. By 1665, Sir Isaac Newton had calculated pi to 16 decimal places. According to NASA officials, the space agency rarely needs to use more than 16 digits of pi to make accurate calculations about our solar system and its cosmic neighborhood. The advent of computers radically improved humans' knowledge of pi. Between 1949 and 1967, the number of known decimal places of pi skyrocketed from 2,037 on the ENIAC computer to 500,000 on the CDC 6600 in Paris. In 2021, researchers in Switzerland ran a supercomputer for 108 days straight and calculated pi to more than 62.8 trillion decimal places.


It is common for devoted math nerds to attempt to memorize as many digits as possible. Some have even developed a language known as Pilish to help. The current world record belongs to Rajveer Meena of Vellore, India, who recited 70,000 decimal places of pi over the course of 10 hours on March 21, 2015. Terry has created a Rotary π trophy for the winner of the Easton High School pi memorization contest.


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