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Today is Pi Day, Celebrating the World’s Favorite Number

The first decimal digits of the Greek letter pi (Π) are 3.14, so it’s only natural that the U.S. House of Representatives should have voted March 14 (3/14) Pi Day, honoring what’s been called the world’s favorite number “from the Greeks to the geeks.” Created by the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Larry Shaw in 1989, Pi Day has spread far afield. David Bailey of the Computational Research Division created and subsequently refined the Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula for computing the nth binary digit of pi with Jonathan Borwein and Simon Plouffe. Today he joins Borwein at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia to celebrate what organizer Mary-Anne Williams rightly calls “one of the most important numbers in history … It helped build the pyramids and today is crucial in advancing mathematics, engineering, computer games, astrophysics, cosmology, economics, and mobile technology.” More>

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  1. Paul Preuss says:

    Thanks to both of you for the correction, and my apologies for confusing the brothers Borwein.

  2. David H Bailey says:

    Yes, Judy is correct. The “Borwein” of the Bailey-Borwein-Plouffe formula is Peter, not Jonathan. However, the “Borwein” mentioned in the article in Australia is indeed my long-time friend and collaborator Jonathan.

  3. Judy Landis says:

    I want to point out an error. The Borwein of the Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula is Peter Borwein, the brother of Jonathan. Although both of these mathematician brothers have done extensive work on pi, Peter is the one this formula is named for. He is at Simon Fraser University.