By Simonbook - 15 Mar 2015 in
Get ready for this - at 26 minutes and 53 seconds after 9a.m, we will pass a date and time represented by the first 10 digits of Pi. Very exciting! If you miss it, there will be one more chance at 9p.m. After that, you’ll have to wait another 100 years for that auspicious moment to happen again, assuming that we will still be writing our Julian calendar dates as we do in America. It ought to be a great moment for conspiracy theorists; they are missing a terrific opportunity to warn us about cables snapping on suspension bridges, oil rig draw-works no longer pumping in Texas, and countless highway accidents when the mechanisms of rack and pinion steering freeze.
The Greek mathematician Archimedes was obsessed with calculating pi. When the Romans invaded he was so engrossed in a mathematical drawing that he yelled at an enemy soldier: "Do not touch my circles!" The soldier’s response? He cut Archimedes's head off.
Supercomputers have now worked pi out to over 13 trillion places – and still there are no patterns or repetitions.
During the OJ Simpson trial, one of OJ's lawyers argued with an FBI agent about the value of pi – it was his way of questioning the agent's intelligence.
The amateur British mathematician William Shanks spent 15 years of the 19th century calculating the first 707 digits of pi. Unfortunately he made a mistake after the 527th, meaning the rest were all wrong.
Want to remember the first 7 numbers, including the 3 before the decimal point? Simply count the letters of each word in the sentence "How I wish I could calculate pi". A slightly longer "piem" is "How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics."