As you might recall from math class, pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. This irrational number—approximately 3.14159—shows up quite frequently in many mathematical applications, including geometry and trigonometry.
The first attempts to calculate pi can be traced back to ancient Babylonians, who calculated the area of a circle as three times the square of its radius, making the value of pi equal to 3. One Babylonian tablet indicated they got as close as 3.125 and later calculations by the ancient Egyptians (ca. 1650 BC) approximated pi as 3.1605.
The number today is celebrated around the world on March 14, which when written out numerically is 3.14.
On YouTube, Michael Blake decided to pay tribute to Pi. By assigning a number to each musical note, he was able to create a composition by playing out the digits of pi. View the video of his piece below.
The vast majority of objects out there in the universe are pretty big…moons, planets, stars, galaxies, so it can be difficult sometimes to get your head round their actual size.
With the huge continent of North America dwarfed by Jupiter’s storms, the universe seems an even larger place. In the other direction, Mars looks so much more human-scaled.
This is how North America looks like in relation to Jupiter, one of the giant planets:
But this is what it lookslike on Mars:
Read more about it here:
Congratulations, European Space Agency, you’ve made history! After departing from the Rosetta orbiter this morning, touchdown of the robot named Philae onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was confirmed at 16:05 GMT. This is a momentous occasion for space exploration as it marks the first time that a spacecraft has ever landed on the surface of a comet.
The Rosetta mission was dreamt up in the ‘80s, but it was not until 1993 that the $1.6 billion (€1.3 billion) project was approved and construction of the crafts could be initiated. That means the probes were fabricated using some systems that were undoubtedly invented in the 1980s, making the mission’s accomplishments even more remarkable.
Rosetta’s rocky voyage began in 2004 after two ditched launch attempts. It took a decade to reach the comet in August this year, a journey that covered six billion kilometers (3.75 billion miles) of our inner solar system.
More on IFL Science.
You can make this with two simple ingredients: water and cornstarch (cornstarch is fine flour made from corn). This stuff is really fun!