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Calculating Pi (π) with Darts

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Can you calculate Pi (π) by throwing darts at a square and circle target as randomly as possible? Physics Girl‘s Dianna Cowern and Veritasium‘s Derek Muller attempt the challenge, and when “randomly” doesn’t happen, they rethink their methods and try again. Watch what they come up with in this video from March 14 (3/14) 2015: Calculating Pi with Darts.

What is Pi? From

Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same.

The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.

When rounding, the result is 3.14 or 3.14159 or 3.14159265359, but as The New Yorker explains, “it appears to be an endless number—it has been computed to more than thirteen trillion digits, among which there is no pattern that repeats.” Learn more on wikipedia and, courtesy of NPR’s SkunkBear, watch this handy visual explainer:


Related memorization: One Million Digits of Pi.

Plus, from NASA: Can you use π (pi) to solve these stellar math problems faced by NASA scientists and engineers? The link includes NASA’s free “Pi in the Sky” poster for download.

Next: More math, including Charles and Ray Eames’ Mathematica – A World of Numbers… and Beyond, The Story of Zero – Getting Something from Nothing, and How high can you count on your fingers?

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