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Pi is one of those super-cool numbers that just keep coming up in nearly every kind of science! It’s normally written as π because when you write it as a decimal, it starts as 3.14159… but then it never ends and never settles into a repeating pattern (like lots of other weird numbers do). Because of this, it has been termed an ‘irrational number’ – ha! Makes me think π is sulking in the corner – being irrational!

There are a bunch of hilarious Pi-songs on YouTube, if your school has access go search for some – here’s one to start you off: http://youtu.be/KTlBC-TvBEQ

0Too many to remember. Find it on your calculator and use that, or remember the first few decimal places, which will be good enough for most things.

0As Mia mentioned, mathematicians have a word they use to describe pi: “irrational”. That means you can’t make a ratio out of it — in other words, you can’t take two normal numbers and divide one by the other to get pi. With most other numbers you can do that; for example, dividing 5 by 2 gives you 5/2 or 2.5 — a perfectly normal (“rational”) number. So even though the value of pi is between 3.1 and 3.2, the number of digits in pi is never-ending. But we can calculate a lot of them, and many people try to see how many digits they can remember. For example, the first seven digits are: 3.141592; to remember that part of pi, just use the number of letters in each word of the phrase, “How I wish I could calculate pi!”

0When I was young (about 13 or 14) I learned the value of pi to 20 decimals – how nerdy is that!

There is a weird little rhyme:

Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling

In mystic verse and magic spelling

Celestial sprites elucidate

All my own striving cant relate.

An the number of letters in each word gives the digits (the comma is the decimal point) – so 3.14159265358979323846.

I repeated this rhyme and counted the letters in my head every night before I went to sleep until I could remember them all.

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