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Still Waters

Ancient pi calculator gets a modern twist

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Needles falling on paper will calculate pi, everyone's favourite mathematical constant, on the day that bears its name.

Pi day is 14 March, or 3.14 as Americans might write it. The constant – the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter – is a string of numbers beginning 3.14159, although it goes on forever.

Computers have crunched pi to trillions of digits. But this pi day, beginning at 1.59 pm GMT, Marcus du Sautoy of the University of Oxford will run Pi Day Live, an online experiment to get people to calculate the constant using a 200-year-old method called Buffon's needle, which anyone can take part in.

http://www.newscient...for-pi-day.html

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