pi day

4:52pm

Mon March 12, 2012
Arts & Culture

At the Exploratorium, there's no such thing as too much Pi

Pi Day founder Larry Shaw.
Casey Miner

The basic definition of the number pi is that it’s doesn’t have an exact value – it’s an infinite calculation. But it is possible to know the exact number of people required to sing a fully orchestrated song about it – sixteen.

I visited San Francisco’s Exploratorium a few days before this year’s Pi Day celebration, to watch a rehearsal of the 16-person band in question. They’re called Buffon’s Needle, a reference to an 18th Century French mathematician who approximated the value of pi by throwing pine needles on the ground.

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