• Question: Do you think pi ever ends? And if it does what do you think the last number is?

    Asked by benweath to Chris, Eva, Michael, Paddy, Phil on 15 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Chris Jordan

      Chris Jordan answered on 14 Jun 2011:


      It’s called an irrational numberbecause it never ends. (Unless you change to a different numbering system – mathematicians like doing that to make life easier when working in spherical universes)

      Edited to add: as Michael says below – it’s transcendental as well!

    • Photo: Michael Wharmby

      Michael Wharmby answered on 14 Jun 2011:


      I second Chris’ answer. pi is a classic example of a transcendental number, which is a special sort of irrational number. It cannot be expressed as a fraction (irrational number) and it cannot be expressed as the answer of an algebraic equation with whole number coefficients: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_number
      pi is a never ending number, so there can be no last number.

    • Photo: Paddy Brock

      Paddy Brock answered on 14 Jun 2011:


      Not much for me to add here. Except that I like the sound of spherical universes and transcendental numbers!

    • Photo: Phil Denniff

      Phil Denniff answered on 14 Jun 2011:


      If you ask a scientist what pi equals he/she’ll tell you it equals 3.14159.
      If you ask a mathematician what pi equals and he’ll tell you pi equals the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter.
      If you ask an Engineer what pi equals he’ll say “Pi? Well, it’s about 3, but we’ll call it 4 just to be safe.”
      And if you ask a kid what pi is, he’ll ask if he can have ice cream with it!

    • Photo: Eva Bachmair

      Eva Bachmair answered on 15 Jun 2011:


      For fun I looked up the Pi page on wikipedia. Did you that this number is already quite old? It was apperantely used in the construction of the Pyramids of Giza.

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